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

Tag: Seattle

Seattle GiveCamp 2019

I had the distinct pleasure of joining Seattle GiveCamp again this year. For those of you who do not know, Seattle GiveCamp is an organization that puts on an annual weekend hackathon in support of local non-profits. 

This year, Seattle GiveCamp 2019 supported 10 non-profits (see the list here) and there were about 100 volunteers, and one bunny!

WordPress has definitely grown in favor over the years. The majority of projects were WordPress, with one ASP.net, a couple Wix, and one Squarespace. I provided assistance to most of the WordPress based projects, but my main focus was Transplant House.

Transplant House (LINK) provides move in ready apartments to individuals getting transplants. Housing in Seattle is in short supply and they provide a vital service wherein transplantees do not have hunt around and sign a long contract on a place to live. They are already worried about enough with the transplant! 

While many of the projects were sprucing up websites, Transplant House has a large technical need. They had been operating entirely manually, with spreadsheets and paper processes. Their ask was for an automated process that took in guest applications and walked them all the way through the interview process, to apartment booking, to checkout and billing. It was a big ask for a weekend project, but my team NAILED IT!

The team was not too familiar with WordPress, but we figured out a workflow and everyone pitched in- lots of learning took place. The team naturally split itself into: developer, project manager/QA, data scientists, form creation specialists. Yes, we had fun with our titles! In the end we not only delivered a working solution, but also pages of user documentation, roadmap for improvements, video documentation, and walked through it with Transplant House several times to ensure it met their needs.

Transplant House is thrilled with their new system. I am excited to hear in a few weeks as to how it is working out for them.

I cannot wait until next year. If you are in Seattle, join us in 2020! You do not have to be technical, there are lots of non-developers tasks to go around.

Seattle Duck Dodge Sailboat Race in a Minto on July 16, 2019

Raced a Minto dinghy in the Dock Dodge- near tragic ending!

Robert Dall sailing Martha the Minto - Seattle Duck Dodge Sailboat Race in a Minto on July 16, 2019My buddy Robert comes down from Canada every year to volunteer at the Footloose Disabled Sailing Blake Island trip. Along the way, Robert participates in the famous Seattle Duck Dodge sailboat race in my 9 foot Minto sailing dinghy. This year I was able to get out with him.


The theme of the race was pajamas. Robert dressed up, brought a Teddy Bear, and decorated the boat. We headed out from the northern side of Lake Union and hopped into the mix. There were well over a hundred boat- they all dwarfed us. Imagine a Pack of Saint Bernards running around your backyard and two Yorkies desperately trying not to get run over. We were the Yorkies.

The course was fairly long for the Mintos, and the wind lighter than I would have liked, but they made it around the course handily.

Before the course started we were milling around the start line and it was a bit dicey with the big boats trying to start. I took of up north and thought Robert had followed me. He had not. The boat Absolutely nearly crushed him while he was looking back at me and talking. After that he hung near the pin end of the starting line. I cruised up north in pursuit of the big boats. They headed there to make a long straight shot at the start. I figured I would do the same behind them, but on the downwind I found that the Minto kept up with several of them and I reached the start 8 minutes early. I started tacking east and west across the lake.

Robert Dall sailing with big boats - Seattle Duck Dodge Sailboat Race in a Minto on July 16, 2019

Our start came and I was ready to nail it, till a Catalina barged through. They had missed their start by 5 minutes and I guess figured running me down was ok. Missed the start horn by 30 seconds. Screamed down to the leeward pin and did pretty well. I waited near the pin for Robert and then we headed up to the windward mark near I-5. I passed a Catalina 22 and a Macgregor 26! Lost sight of Robert in the back of the fleet.

Catalina 22 I passed in a Minto! - Seattle Duck Dodge Sailboat Race in a Minto on July 16, 2019

Rounding the windward mark, We beamed over to the Aurora bridge mark. This was the biggest battle for me. Having such tiny sail area compared to everyone else, I really had to be on my games. Tactics were of high importance. I had to have clear air because every other boat out there could steal it and kill my momentum. I got a lot of praise for how well I sailed on this leg. Most of the big boats around me were on their second lap. Passed a Catalina 25.

Rounding that mark, I could not see Robert behind me anymore. He was struggling with the same stealing of air that I had and even more of the big boat fleet was around him! On this downwind run to the finish I had a couple beers thrown to me and passed a 30 footer, to finish second to last in my class, but only 5th from last overall. Not too bad for a light rowing dinghy with a sail.

Seattle Duck Dodge Sailboat Race in a Minto on July 16, 2019

I was very impressed at the performance of the Minto. She sailed well. 3 knots more wind would have helped a lot, but overall I was satisfied. The mental game was the most fun. When you have a lot of sail area it is easier to sail sloppy, when literally every boat can park you the game becomes much more strategic. I did well because I was trained and mentored well by Joe, and exceptional racer. Robert did ok for being in a little dinghy not meant for speed. He would have done better had he deployed the same tactics as myself. He did win a black duck though!

Overall it was a very fun night and I enjoyed it far more than I anticipated. I kinda want to do it again even!

Georgeous sunset sail

Had a fantastic sunset sail this evening. A few friends invited themselves along on what turned out to be a gorgeous evening. There was no wind, but we had a great time bobbing on the water and fellowshiping.

Sadly this was also a going away sail for Alcane Clowe. Alcane is moving a few hours south in a couple days. Going to miss my erstwhile first mate.

Check out some of the gorgeous shots of the sunset! Click to enlarge. If you want to download right click the enlarged and save for full size!

Moving the boat to Seattle

Today was the day! After waiting many months zzZippety Doo Dah has finally moved to Seattle’s Elliot Bay Marina :).

Zippey has been moored in Bremerton, WA since I purchased the boat in Everett, WA and sailed her down. Zippey is not only my first boat, I also learned to sail on her. The Sinclair Inlet area around Bremerton has been a great place to learn to sail. Winds are moderate and waves small to non-existant. The marina in Bremerton is also great. I have been very happy there, but alas, now that I live in Seattle it has been a pain to schedule sailing trips around a one hour ferry trip.

Since it has taken me so long to do a full write up I am just going to post some pics, and maybe come back to this later as it is a historic occasion 🙂



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