Ben Lobaugh Online



This awesome tshirt was designed and modeled by Robert Dall

Canadian Bus tshirt!


Zippey’s first official race!

Lastnight was the first of what hopefully will be many races for me as the skipper. I decided for my first race I wanted something that was not going to be as competitive as the races I typically crew in. The Thursday night Downtown Sailing Series fit the bill perfectly. Zippey is moored in the Elliot Bay Marina, which hosts the race.

The Downtown Series is very laid back. So laid back in fact that they encourage you to use your motor if you would need to make it through the course on time. The only 2 marks you are required to round (of 5) are the start and finish marks. Otherwise you can cut the others if you want to, though I want to legitimately win!

The wind last night was very flukey. It altered direction as much as 90 degrees every minute. And it was puffy! Sometimes Zippey would scream along as 5.5 knots, only to drop back to 1.4 knot for the next 20 minutes.

We did pretty good on this race overall, though I made an extreme tactical mistake at the start. I thought I could sneak by the big boats by staying inside near the starting pin…whoops, the big boats stole my wind cause I was leeward! Stupid mistake that I will not soon make again (I hope)!

The rest of the race went pretty well tactically. It highlighted the need for a new main and a much larger headsail. Currently Zippey has what may be a 95% headsail and a main from 1977. If both were in better condition I would have finished much better. As it was I finished in 17th place out of 30 boats in my class.

As for the 17th place…the course is about 7.8 miles. That is a pretty long course. And there is a 1.5 hour time limit! In contrast the races I typically crew in have a 5 hour time limit and the course is variable size based on the wind. So we may have gotten 17th place, however we did sail for more than 2/3 of the course. We only fired up our engine when we realized that there was not enough wind for us to make it to the finish line in time, and we did want to place.

Speaking of using an engine, typically that is not allowed. This race in general is peculiar in that it allows and even encourages use of the motor.

I am guessing that had we fired up our motor at the same time as the rest of the class we would have been closer to 5th place or above. Not too shabby for Zippey’s first real race!


2016 Liberty Bay July 3rd raft up

Last year I went to Liberty Bay with the Shilshole Bay Yacht Club (SBYC) for the July 3rd raft up event. Liberty Bay is in Poulsbo, WA and is a large bay that allows overnight anchoring. Each year Poulsbo puts on a fireworks show for all the boaters. Last year’s event was so much fun that I had to go again this year!

My buddy Robert Dall came down from Vancouver, Canada to make the trip. Zippey was out of the water in the boatyard and we worked hard and got her splashed Wednesday for our Friday trip!

The trip this year was fast! Last year Zippey needed her bottom scraped and painted and it took 6 hours to get there. This year with a clean bottom Zippey got there in slightly over 2 hours!

We were the first boat to arrive around 14:44 with Antares following an hour later. The first night we had 5 boats, by Saturday night there were 12 boats. Sunday totaled our numbers 19. We were the largest raft by several boats.


SBYC members are some of the best people I have had the privilege of knowing. There was lots of camaraderie and sharing amongst our fleet. With Zippey having just been splashed her rig was not tuned. Joe Bozick brought along a rig tuner. After tuning Tom Madden and Joe helped rig her for sailing and we sailed Zippey through hundreds of anchored boats.


Lock it up


It takes an (international) village… Zippey’s 2016 haul out

As I write this I am happily anchored in Liberty Bay with my yacht club. It was a hard push to get here but the effort, stress, and exhaustion of the past few weeks has been worth it.


Zippey was far far far overdue for a haul to replace the bottom paint. Last time I had the boat out I paid someone to do the work and instead of the nice (expensive) marine paint I had purchased he swapped it out and put cheap latex house paint on Zippey. Latex house paint is _not_ even close to marine paint quality. The critters living in salt water loved attaching themselves to the latex paint. Keeping the bottom as clean and smooth as possible had been a running battle for the past couple years and it finally became too much effort at nearly this same time last year.

The Shilshole Bay Yacht Club forms a raft up (I am there currently) each year for an amazing July 3rd fireworks show for boaters in Liberty Bay. Last year the trip took Zippey SIX HOURS to make. As we limped into the bay I knew it was time for the big job of stripping down the paint completely. I have sanded Zippey in the past both above and below the waterline and I can tell you that even though she is only 23 feet long it is still quite the challenge to sand down the entire boat. I researched some local boatyards and found one that was set up with facilities that allow boaters to do their own bottom work, South Park Marina.

I was excited as Zippey’s haul out date approached but unfortunately a couple days before the haul out was to commence the marina called to inform me their machine to get my boat out had broken. It took them an entire month for their supplier to get the replacement parts they needed, and another month to clear that month’s backlog. To all told Zippey’s haul out wound up happening TWO MONTHS after it was initially scheduled. This significantly compressed the original timeline, down from 3 months to 3 weeks. I had to dramatically cut back the projects I wanted to do. Down to the following 8 projects out of a total of 25+ I wanted to do:

  • Drop the mast and fix the halyards
  • Scrape and sand the bottom
  • Roll on a couple new coats of bottom paint
  • Fix the centerboard so it swings in and out properly
  • Rig up a system to rehang the rudder, temporarily until proper rudder parts can be sourced
  • Create a new line-based traveler system (Finished back in the water)
  • New tiller installation
  • Additional anchor chain added (Finished back in the water)

That is the minimum that Zippey needed to get her back into the water, and boy was it a hard sprint to get her done in time for the July 1st-4th Liberty Bay event! Alix and I were packing and moving at the same time, then unpacking and setting up a new home, sailboat racing, and the Footloose events, not to mention a family emergency, uncooperative weather,  and a friend from another country visiting!

Zippey’s bottom may not be perfect but it is significantly better. The first couple days were spent sanding off the bottom paint as well as could be done. The day we were supposed to begin painting the weather went south and it rained. It rained for several days. South Park Marina is not a covered boatyard, which makes painting a boat impossible if it rains. So we did other projects, such as dropping the mast and fixing the halyard.

When all was said and done Zippey had become an international project. Someone from Canada came down and worked on Zippey.

I could not have gotten Zippey finished in time without the following people being a huge helping hand:

  • Joshua Wold
  • Robert Dall (Canadian)
  • Ben Matthewson
  • Alix Lobaugh
  • Momma Lobaugh
  • RaeAnn Lobaugh

Each person lent a hand with sanding, painting, or hard labor. Thank you, thank you, thank you each of you.

There are still a decent amount of projects that Zippey should have done, but their are of secondary importance. Zippey is ready to spend another pleasant summer sailing the Puget Sound!

Last year it took 6 hours to get Zippey from Elliot Bay Marina to Liberty Bay; this year she did it in slightly over 2 hours! Zippey went from chugging along at a max of 2 knots ( approx. 2 mph) to 6.4 knots (approx. 7 mph)!

Here are some photos of the process:

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