Ben Lobaugh Online

I think, therefore I am. I am, therefore I sail

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Intensely colored sunset over Salmon Bay

2017 Liberty Bay July 3rd raft up

The July 3rd fireworks event in Liberty Bay is the single most looked forward to event of the year for me. Hundreds (maybe thousands) of boats descend on Liberty Bay for one of the better fireworks displays around. Boats come in groups and raft up (tie together) or singly.

This year I was excited to take Billabong over. In fact this was Billabong’s first cruise outing since I have owned her! My wife Alix had to work but another friend at our marina was coming later and offered to bring her over, so early Saturday morning I packed the dogs into the boat and we took off for Liberty Bay, Poulsbo.

Billabong motoring from Shilshole to Liberty Bay July 2017

The morning weather was a bit dreary, with no wind, but Bella and Mariah had a great time cruising over. Mariah piloted while Bella crewed and Martha dutifully followed along behind.

About 80% of the way to Agate Pass the newly rebuilt motor Harold and I had labored to rebuild sputtered and died. She had less than 5 hours on the rebuild! Luckily I had brought along my toolbox and along with my recently acquired knowledge felt confident I would figure out a resolution. When I popped open the engine hatch I found, to my horror, several inches of water in the bottom of the engine room! With no bilge pump in the engine room (to keep oil from going overboard) I was forced to manually bail the compartment.

Water filling the engine compartment, presumably from the rudder post

Unable to see any visual clue as to why the motor died I decided to bump the starter. To my surprise and delight the motor fired immediately with barely a bump of the starter. With the hatch still open I cautiously put the transmission in forward at idle. Everything seemed fine. Gave her some throttle and suddenly a fountain of water came flying up! Immediately killing the motor, I investigated. It turns out the oil absorbent pads I had placed under the motor had floated up when the compartment filled with water and wrapped themselves around the prop shaft. Once sufficiently twisted they had enough weight to cause the motor to sputter. Simple fix!!!

What about the water you may be asking? I had to manually pump out the compartment two other times. It looks to me as if the rudder post is leaking. I have yet to confirm that suspicion 100% but whenever the rudder is used hard a larger volume of water seems to come through.

Enough of the depressing stuff! After anchoring in Liberty Bay I set about rigging up Martha the Minto while Bella took a nap in the cabin.

And then….you guessed it, we went sailing in Martha!

Sailing Martha the Minto in Liberty Bay. Doesn’t Bella look thrilled?

Billabong looked good hanging in Liberty Bay.

Harold, Jessie, and Amanda arrived a couple hours later on Michief Maker, an Ericson 38. Jessie approves of Billabong.

We went into Poulsbo and of course Harold and I shared a round of brew.

The following morning Alix arrived via friend Kemp’s trawler. Alix had never been to Poulsbo so we went in and explored the town.

I did not get many pictures during the event. You can look at past Liberty Bay July 3rd events to see fireworks. I very much enjoy spending time with the people of Shilshole Bay Yacht Club. Super fun people who just love getting out on and enjoying their boats with others.

Alix and I had a great sail back to Shilshole Marina on July 4th. Alix even tried her hand at helming and was telling me how to sail before we got back! Our first docking together was flawless. Alix stepped off the boat and tied us to the dock like she had been doing it for years.

Another year and another Liberty Bay event down. I am looking forward to next year already!

 

Winterized Minto Martha

Meet the Minto- Martha

It seems that each year I add a new boat to my growing fleet and 2017 is no exception. I am excited to announce the latest member of the fleet, a Minto that Alix has named Martha.

The Minto is a 9 foot (2.7 meters for my Canadian friend Robert) sailing/rowing dinghy. It was first produced in the 1960s by EDDON Boat Yard and is still in production today by Rich Passage. Over 1,000 Mintos have been built, making it one of the most populous dinghies in the Pacific Northwest. See more at Wikipedia.

I was first introduced to Mintos by dock mate Kemp. He has had several Mintos over the years. He had one he used as a row boat when we first met. He told me it could sail and several months later he got the sail rig out. The first time I saw the Minto under sail I was hooked! Any time Kemp went out after that I would sit on the end of the dock watching him zip around the lake with pure boat lust. I have a problem.

My wife already thinks I have some sort of boat hoarder dementia so in order to get Martha I got rid of an 11′ sailboat and a kayak.

Martha was built by the Ranger boat company and here is how I found her on Craiglist.

 

$600 for a Minto is a killer deal. The transom needed some work but it was a typical issue stemming from storing the boat upside down on the ground. Moisture from the grass is sucked up inside the wooden transom and since it is not a teak transom it rots out. The sail rig alone is worth $1,500!

I loaded the Minto on top of my wife’s Subaru Outback and away we went!

She had been sitting outside for a long time and needed quite the cleaning. She came out nicely though! After removing all the gunk Kemp said the hull was in far better shape than any Minto he had owned.

 

Rebuilding the transom was a relatively easy endeavor. Kemp has rebuilt Minto transoms on previous Mintos he has owned and guided the process. I scrapped the rotten wood from between the fiberglass, thoroughly dried the interior, applied System Three RotFix, and inserted some good new wood into the transom. My good buddy David free handed the transom cuts. The board had to be both cut to fit the sides and cut down the middle because it was too thick. David is a carpentry monster.

 

After the epoxy dried in the new transom David came over for the maiden voyage. David sailed Kemp’s Minto while I hopped out on Martha.

 

Alix and I have had a ton of fun with Martha this summer. She is tied onto the swim platform of our live aboard. We are able to quickly step into the boat and be off on an adventure!

Martha has joined S/V Billabong on longer sailing adventures as a ship-to-shore boat on several occasions.

And my buddy Robert (yes the Canadian mention previously….) even came down and raced Martha in the Duck Dodge. He did a pretty dang good job too!

 

This Minto may be the most fun boat I have owned to date. She rows like a champ, easily taking Alix, myself, and our two dogs miles with ease, and she sails beautifully. If you are looking for a rigid dinghy that can row, sail, and even handle a small outboard I highly recommend considering a Minto!

DISCLAIMER: I picked up Martha in April 2017. It took me till November 2017 to write this post! I was having too many adventures with Martha to have time to blog!

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