More Little Things

By Kristin

More pictures of the projects from yesterday, plus more from today.

The icebox now has a nifty new latch.

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Now I don’t need to use the paint can opener anymore. The icebox is large and very well insulated. There are two gaskets on the lid and it fits in its spot snugly. We will get to test it out with real ice this week.

Yesterday Michael worked on the two galley drawers. Below those two drawers is a small bin. Due to the curve of the hull, there’s no room for a drawer, so our previous owner fashioned a bin that is meant to swing out from a hinge on the bottom. It also was missing its raised panel face.

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Starting assembly.

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And here are all three installed, with faceplates and handles. The hinge for the bin still needs to be located. See picture from last post for the before picture.

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Big difference! The galley looks more finished and is more functional too!

Michael also mounted the boom for the stay sail.

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We are just days away from heading out. Current plan is to leave on Wednesday. More to come!

The Little Things

By Kristin

Traditionally, Labor Day weekend is the end of summer, but for us, this year, it will be the beginning of our travels with Elsa. We are planning to take some time off and actually go away in the boat! We don’t have a plan. Don’t know where we’re going or when or for how long. But we are going!

Addressing some of the interior systems still not available has been a fun challenge. Since we only have a starter battery, we are without 12V power for the interior. Michael dug out a solar cell phone charger that I bought him several years ago and it works great! The small solar panel charges a battery pack, which can then be connected to another device for charging, or you can hook the cell phone directly up to the panel. I also ordered some battery-powered LED lights for interior light. We are not sure we will have access to shore power (or the ability to get into a marina that has it) so we will cross our fingers that the sun will shine.

None of the freshwater foot pumps are hooked up, so we will carry on our water. And the icebox will need fresh ice added periodically, so those will likely be our pacing items.

We will not have the propane stove hooked up, so Michael’s camping stove will be pressed into service. As long as we can heat water for the morning coffee, I will be fine. The rest of the menu will be figured out.

Saturday was Little Project Day. We ferried down another load of gear and my main task was to stow it all. We removed several bags of unneeded stuff off the boat, freeing up valuable storage space and we organized and stowed. We now have LED lights, VHF radios, cooking and dining utensils and all the tools and painting junk is out of the galley. Ready for provisions!

Michael also worked on adding handles to the drawers in the galley and at the nav station. The interior was left in an almost-but-quite-done state.

Here’s the nav station drawers

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In progress.

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And after, with a nice coat of linseed oil.

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He also worked on the galley.

The galley is finished in beautiful cherry and most of the wood is varnished. You can see the unfinished drawers in this picture. The drawers are built but the raised panel facing was inside the drawer and the wood is bare.

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Michael assembled the faceplates and added handles! We wondered how we would match the shiny finish but a few coats of linseed oil and color is spot on. The reveal will have to wait until I remember to actually take some pictures. But they look fantastic! The galley is now much more useful, tidy and ready for action.

Alice came with us and she spent her day napping. Under the companion way.

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And in the v-berth.

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Good to have so many little things checked off. Looking forward to getting away!

Sailing with Family

By Kristin

Another beautiful summer day in the Seattle area and finally a day when Maddie wasn’t working and could come sailing with us. She leaves for WWU and moves into her first apartment in several weeks, so we were running out of weekends.

The wind was less fickle than yesterday and we made great long tacks across the bay. Not sure why, but Elsa was much faster on the starboard tack. The headsail shreds itself a little more each time it goes up or down so Michael is researching new sails and roller furling. We knew we would do it at some point, but it will be sooner rather than later.

And we had our first boat injury. The winch handle slipped out of the winch when Michael was briskly raising the main, and now Michael has 6 stitches in his chin. Of course, we kept sailing after the injury. No way was Michael cutting his sailing short!

And rather than a bunch more words, here is the rest of how our day went.

Maddie is the queen of the selfie.

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Not sure how the panorama pic will do in the blog but I hope it works.

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And one last shot, as we left for the day.

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Sailing with Friends

By Kristin

We took some friends out today. Our first outing with more crew than just me and Michael.

Craig and Brad were able hands on deck. Great to have so much extra help! The best part was after an hour or so, in the warmth of the afternoon, the three guys all took a nap. I guess it’s a good measure of how large the deck is – three grown men can all stretch out on it!

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I guess it’s hard to see Craig but he’s up toward the bow.

We motor-sailed quite a bit in the fickle winds and we toured Quartermaster Harbor, eyeballing potential places to anchor out when we take our first little trip.

Looking forward to sailing again tomorrow with Maddie!

… and we have liftoff!

By Kristin

We sailed today!

Sunday morning we drove to Tacoma and when I checked the maritime weather forecast, it said 10-20 knots winds! Yikes! But the tides corresponded nicely to our plan for the day so we were going. I stowed everything I could see, and Michael did some final tuning of the rig. I was introduced to the engine starting sequence, and she fired right up. Then we cast off the lines and we were underway!

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Elsa is not a nimble girl, and we have a lot to learn about how she travels under power, especially in reverse. We saw several osprey as we left, which we took to be a good omen, and then we putted out of Hylebos. In the bay, Michael raised the mizzen, then the staysail, and then the storm jib. She settled down with just those sails up and she felt sturdy and strong. A little further out, Michael raised the main. And we were sailing!

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Michael was pleased with the rigging and the way the booms looked. The sails trimmed up well and we were able to sail close with surprising speed. After we found one bit of doldrums, the wind was perfect, steady and building as we went north through the bay.

We were thrilled with how she felt under sail. Rock solid. Energetic in the wind and responsive to the tiller. Easy to keep on course. When the wind picked up again, we discovered our first vital To Do item, as the reef lines shredded as Michael tried to tie them. Bungees and extra rope worked today, but that will be dealt with.

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We headed outbound for 3 hours and then turned back. Running downwind, we made it back much quicker, and other then really needing to keep a strong arm on the tiller, she ran well too. We putted back down the waterway, and with very little drama, docked successfully. The ospreys flew over again on our return, welcoming us back.

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Today was more then just our first sail with Elsa. For Michael, it was a day when a lifelong dream came true. How many times in a lifetime do you get to say that? All the hard work, over the last few years especially, all became manifest in this boat, this time on the water, today. The joy showed on his face, as he allowed himself the rare moment of letting it all in and celebrating.

The gift today for me was feeling comfortable and steady in the boat. We talked about feeling the history of the 1903 Archer plans and how those old rescue boats live on in Elsa and her sisters, giving us our chance to sail safely. Heeling in Alegrias was not fun for me, but the heeling motion on Elsa was not the same, and I happily steered much of the day, enjoying the connection through the tiller to the boat.

We walked the path with many many other boat folks – through all the steps of dreaming, searching, wishing, touring, viewing, surveying and closing. We are not the first new owners, taking their maiden voyage in their new boat. We weren’t the only folks to be excited, giddy and grinning from ear to ear out on the water.

It was just our day today, our sail, our first time, our grins, our connection to this boat. We are counting our blessings tonight.

3-2-1…

By Kristin

Quick update. Michael spent all day Friday working on the running rigging. He got the main sail up.

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This sail is in pretty ok shape and needs a cleaning. But dang, that’s a lot of sail! He also reorganized the sails on the front stays. The sail we thought was the staysail wasn’t the staysail and he got the right sail on that stay. Here is the genoa up. This sail is in bad shape and likely too much sail so he took it down and hung the storm jib.

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One other addition. We got an Avon. Found a good used one on Craigslist.

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Then early Saturday, we started the morning off with a quick trip up the mizzen mast. Michael got a new harness and assembled a rig that didn’t need me on the winch. He attached the other end of a rope triatic stay, while noting the measurement so he could he order the new metal stay.

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So the last sail to hang is the mizzen. On it went.

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All sails were tied down. An evening event meant we had to leave without going out, but this way we have all day tomorrow with no other priorities. Stay tuned.

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Staysail Up!

By Kristin

Big weekend in terms of actual progress toward sailing. Not so much the kind of progress that shows up in pictures but the kind of progress that leaves you grinning and giddy.

Starting with yesterday, Michael mounted the cleats behind the new winches. Backing plates were cut and hard carved to fit in the space and reach across the old holes in the fiberglass.

Dry fitting the backing plate.

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Starboard cleat.

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Working on port cleat.

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Port cleat.

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The cleats were needed to really secure the bosun’s chair rigging. Michael assembled a more robust rig for the chair that includes blocks leading back to the big winches. He donned the chair and then I cranked him up. The rig worked good and Michael was able to get a new block attached for the staysail and we measured for halyards.

Testing.

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Michael selfie.

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Shot of the deck from the upper spreaders.

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And all that work was the prelude to Sunday, when we cranked Michael to the very top.

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The new halyard is installed and one end of the triatic stay was attached. Obligatory deck shots from the very top.

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That’s 55 feet up!

Back down on the deck, and the Sunday finale. We hanked on the staysail and raised it up.

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There was enough wind to fill the little sail and pull the dock lines tight. We joked that Elsa was telling us ‘come on, let’s go!’ After a half hour or so, we took it down and stowed it back down below.

When we left today, the boat didn’t look that different from yesterday morning. There are some new blocks and some new lines up. But the difference to us is enormous! We have a sailboat! By our best guess, Elsa has not had sails on for 10 years and we feel like we have brought her a little closer to her former shipshape. We felt like she was smiling today.

For Michael, it was sweet relief to be done on the big mast and a huge load off him to have this much new rigging done. He still has to go up the mizzen mast to attach the other end of the triatic stay. Then the halyard for the mizzen can go up and we could go sailing.

The sails are in better shape then we thought. We brought the staysail to the house Saturday night and Michael cleaned it up. A little oxiclean and the pressure washer worked great. Tonight we brought the mizzen sail back with us for the same treatment.

We are still high-fiving each other and are so pleased and excited to have gotten this far. When we bought Elsa, we knew there were many many things to do, but a fairly short list of absolutely vital things to be done before we could sail. That particular list is now even shorter!