Ben Lobaugh Online

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

Category: Sailing (Page 1 of 15)

The brown crusty joys of boat ownership

Cruisers have a saying, “Sailboat cruising is simply boat repair in exotic places.” That may be slightly tongue-in-cheek but boy what I wouldn’t give to be in an exotic place right now.

This time last year I was reinstalling Billabong’s motor. Unfortunately the shaft seal failed shortly after and became progressively worse over the summer. To make matters worse, the salt water was spraying all over my freshly rebuilt and painted motor. It ate right through the paint and rusted up the sides of the motor. Now I get to clean it all up….again…..

Finally, a standing desk on the boat!

I have had standing desks for years. In fact, I recently posted a photo I found of the standing desk I had at our Lake City house. When we moved onto the boat I was bummed that there was no area that was both compact and out of the way enough for a standing desk. A couple weeks ago I accidentally ran across the solution!

What I have set up now is a monitor mount with a tray on the arm instead of a monitor. It has been working great! The only major issue I have run across is the monitor height. Because I am using the built in laptop monitor I am looking down, which hurts the upper back after a while. Thinking now about getting a small external monitor to mount similarly above the laptop.

Penny’s 2017-2018 boat topper

Winter is here again, that mean rain and winds. Last year we created a canvas top with velcro sewn into it that kept the back of the boat mostly dry, but did allow the wind to whip through.

This year I added port side and rear windows. For 2 reasons: 1) It lets more light in than a solid canvas (duh). 2) The port side is a wind block.

Specifically, I changed it this year to have a side wall because during storms the wind comes from the South. Our rear port side is exposed to the South, meaning the winds hit us directly. The walls stop the wind and any sideways rain from getting into the boat. So far it has worked perfectly.

This top is definitely not elegant in any way. It is essentially a huge tarp with a corner sewn into it. It is nowhere near the elegant canvas work on other boats around me, but it is significantly cheaper than having it professionally made. That said, if we live here again next winter I think we will spring for a professional canvas. It will enclose all 4 sides and the flybridge, which will dramatically increase our dry living space.

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

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