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2015-07-31

We apologize for this interruption in service....

It's been pointed out to me recently that it's been several weeks since a post has been made. So this brief missive, directed to the two readers I may have left, is proof I haven't been killed in a horrific caliper or crimping accident. There are items to report...but soon, soon...

It's been a busy summer. There have been Solstice dawns to observe; this was shot at a beach party I've attended for over 30 years, because I enjoy it and it's a beautiful way to kick off the season.
I don't recall a "diploma". His is larger than my wife's university degree.
"Other than boat related" has dominated that summer, alas. There was the pressing matter of seeing Cabin Boy Number One finish elementary school.

Yes, but can you reduce a sight?
And my wife, the wildlife rehabber, brought baby pigeons home...and, because they needed feeding every few hours, BROUGHT THEM ON THE BOAT when we overnighted. There may still be millet in the bilges.
Certain elements of my life are well beyond my control. Sailing with eight pigeon chicks is emblematic of this.
 There were dinghies to assemble and cabin boys to row them:
This 10-foot nesting dinghy, which also has a sailing rig, is going to be our son's primary tender. The more cargo-oriented Portabote will be ours. Unless circumstances dictate differently.

And there was an enormous amount of paying work in June and really, well into July right up to the present. Good for the bottom line, less good for boat-related tasks. However, there has been time for the occasional refreshing dip and boarding ladder testing:
Cabin Boy can swim perfectly well, but he likes to bob and doze off a bit in the water.
There's been a few sailing days...this one saw us overhaul a similarly coloured  Viking 28, the "little sister" to our Viking 33, Valiente.
"Eventide": I don't know where she's berthed, but that's a nice design on the jib. We effortlessly overhauled her.
Fortunately, our fairly paranoid weather sense led to looking aft and we didn't like the look of the sky.  I fancy I can "smell" weather and (broadly) sense barometric changes. It's either something innate or is a skill I've learned and which I am mistaking as innate. Either way, it's kept me safe and dry since I was a kid.
It wasn't like this, I mean.
So we dropped and secured our sails, kicked the fenders over the side and motored back to the marina and tied off with the requisite spring lines. A mere five minutes later, a characteristically brisk squall of short duration passed over. I would say it blew at 35 knots or so.
One of these babies: you are seeing the backside of the squall we ducked. Happens about a dozen times a summer, and you can heave to or run off without much concern, because they are gone in five to 15 minutes.
Unfortunately, a Viking 33 we hadn't noticed during our excellent sail was out in the squall, and evidently was too close to the rocky lee shore of  a local water slide...and she met her end there.
Very sad, although my first rather mercenary thought was "this makes the boat I'm trying to sell a wee bit rarer". Photo (c) Jeff Cooper
According to fellow Viking 33 owner Dan Erlich (Ketchup): "Last Sunday during a line squall the inexperienced young owner was too close to the rocks when the squall hit and his crew went below to be out of the rain.  He had no one on deck with him.  Hull number 24 has the traveler on the coach roof so the helmsman could not dump the main sheet.  That is why I prefer the traveler in front of the companionway on this boat.  The engine on this boat was a 15 Hp outboard not suited to pitching seas or extreme heel angles and no one felt compelled to have the anchor and rode ready to use.  The result was boat was pushed upon the rocks and then holes were eventually punched through the hull in several places."
Ouch. It's never good when a boat dies.

The still-kicking, for sale boat, after the pigeon incursion, needed a good clean, so a good clean was done, partly via the removal of the accumulated crap we've felt necessary to accumulate over our years as cruisers.

The full horror of "colour-blind Scotsman brown plaid" is revealed when you stow the sails properly.
Of course, having done this task of subtraction and the application of elbow grease and teak oil, the boat's rarely looked better, and I want to keep her all over again. But I will entertain thoughtful offers.
I haven't seen the top of this navigation table for three seasons. Usually it's covered in obscure little boat bits, logbooks, and charts.

For simplicity's sake, we dealt with deck and hull cleaning by motoring over on a calm evening to the bigger boat Alchemy, which has a power washers and all sorts of cleaning supplies. The nearby presence of a soot-producing airport was revealed as dirt sluiced off the boat in impressive amounts.

Very possibly the last time my navy will raft up.
 The result was a markedly cleaner and less cluttered vessel, inside and out.

Ooh, shiny.
 But the real work on Alchemy has not been avoided or shirked. Something fuelish this way comes.
I'm actually starting to enjoy wire work and brand-new circuitry leaping to life in a safe and non-flammable fashion.

More to come, sooner, too.

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