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

Category: SBYC

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!


Today I ran my first sailboat race!

Today was the final race in the Shilshole Bay Yacht Club (SBYC) Snowbird Series, and I had the honor of running the race.


In 2015 I started racing with Joe Bozick on his Sweden 36, Breeze. Joe pushed me hard understand the ins and outs of sailboat racing, and after joining SBYC, urged me to become the Fleet Captain. In that position I am the right hand of the Race Chair Tom Madden. The Race Chair conducts the races, however he was not available today and he asked me to run the race.

Today was my second time as part of the “race committee”, and my first time running a race by myself!

Tom did a great job of preparing me and endured daily emails where I would send a “course for the day” to get his guidance on how to set courses in different weather.

The weather today was forecast to be about 3 mph from the South, with the wind direction shifting pretty quickly.

When the committee boat went out on the course there was zero wind. With the help of the other race committee members I decided to postpone the race in hopes the wind would come up. Sure enough, about 15 minutes later we got some wind and the boats were off!

The course was a small one ( NEMN ) since we were expecting such low winds. As it turned out the wind averaged 6 mph and hit 8 mph for short times. From the first start to the last boat over the finish was nearly an hour. Then the wind stopped dead again. All the boats had made it around the course!

Overall my first experience running a race was a good one. It helped that I had a great experienced race committee crew with me (thanks guys!).

My buddy Robert came along as our photographer and got some great photos of the race. Here are a few:

My first “cruise” with Shilshole By Yacht Club (SBYC)

This past weekend Alix and I went on our first “cruise” with the Shilshole Bay Yacht Club (SBYC).


Our first cruise did not actually involve any boats. Each year SBYC does a ski cruise to Wenatchee. This year a wine tour and snow mobiling was added. Alix and I joined part of the group on a special behind-the-scenes tour of the Martin-Scott Winery. Mike, the owner, took us on quite the experience. Mike started his growing career out with apples and got into grapes much later in life. We walked through the vineyards and learned about how various fields were setup and grown, then strolled through the warehouse where the wine was made. We even got to sample some Pinot Grigio directly out of the barrel. All the wine made by Martin-Scott was top quality. If you get an opportunity to drink any Martin-Scott wine jump on it!

The rest of the trip was spent enjoying the camaraderie of fellow members. Hours by the hot tub, social hour in the hotel bar, and countless conversations about our favorite subject, our boats.

This was my wife’s first introduction to the club and she had a fantastic time meeting everyone and listening to their nerdy talk about boating. She is looking forward to attending more events with the club and I cannot wait till my sailboat Zippey’s bottom is redone and we can get out there cruising on the water with you all again!

Alix remarked to me after the first dinner, “I thought you were just crazy but there are others that want to sail around the world too!” SBYC is already helping fulfill my bucket list.

For everyone who was not able to join you missed a great time and I hope to see you at the next event!

P.S. We were the only members with our SBYC burgee proudly on display in our car. This was an official cruise…I think this call for chickens all around!


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