Friday, October 14, 2011


Caution all ye who enter here. This blog is for our own enjoyment - a diary of sorts. This post in particular is longer than most on Sweet Bluesette. Having read this far, though, it is too late to alter course, mateys... so...


Return with us now to those thrilling shores of lake Hinuma for another exciting adventure of "The Lone Lido" ~ Bluesette sails again!*

Saturday was for trying out some new gear. (The point of having a boat is to buy stuff for it, right?)

Regular readers know we've been through a couple of types of mast floats - and capsized with one (it worked). But we are engaged in the relentless pursuit of perfection. The first was a Hobie "Baby Bob" mounted atop the mast.

Although it did prevent us from turning turtle once in the shallow waters of lake Hinuma, I think its mass and wind resistance may have actually contributed to our capsize. It's weight was always noticeable when raising and lowering the mast each sail. Maybe the thing I liked least about the "Baby Bob" was that I couldn't mount the wind vane at the top of the mast. So, great for catamarans, but I'm not sold on it (other than forking out ¥*****) for use on the Lido.

Then we tried an inflatable one which wrapped around the luff and was pulled up with the mainsail. That made raising the main a bit harder and was a royal pain in the arse when it occasionally got caught between the mast and stay on the way up. It also looked like it destroyed the aerodynamics, creating drag right at the top and again, perhaps even making a capsize more likely.

We'd seen some of the local boats us a simple 25cm beach ball as a mast float. Light weight, not much drag, and tied on with a bit of tether so it doesn't interfere with the sail (and cheap!); it looks promising. Unfortunately, when we asked Mr. Hakuta to show us how to attach it, we learned that we didn't have the required net. Next time. For this day, he loaned us a funky net float.


Next thing we did on Saturday was to replace the whisker pole eye strap on the mast, since I purchased a new Forespar whisker pole to replace the Mickey Mouse highly ingenious one I made from a painter's extension, screw eye, and sawed off paint roller. It worked, but was not strong enough - bent went I stepped on it one day, then the threaded end broke off and I replaced the whole thing, and the reshaped screw eye was both a danger onboard ("you could put someone's eye out with that", as my Mom might have said) and difficult for the crew to fit into the (ahem) "eye" strap. It too eventually broke off.

New pole, new attach point, so ... drill new holes. The new pole mounts vertically, whereas the old one was horizontal, so the new one covers up the old mounting holes. The curvature of the new bracket doesn't quite match the mast, so I added some gel pads, which also cover the old screw holes and seal them from water - perfect.


By then it was close to noon, so we launched - for lunch at Mama's!

The mini-Mama sisters were there as well as Mama and Papa. (Papa has a different job but has been recuperating from a work related injury for several months. Heartening to seem him getting better.)

Kimie's asari clams and mushrooms

PandaB's eggplant and tuna in tomato sauce

Dessert - oh, my. Cherry tart. Mercy.

This has been our third year of sailing Bluesette and coincidentally(?) Mama's third year in business. As she has done on her two previous anniversaries, she presented us with some goodies on the way out.

Well, we can save the cookies for later. Oops. Kimie also bought two more slices of cherry tart to take home. What diet? What does Kimie do with all those calories? Scary.

Meanwhile, back at the yacht harbor, builders have been busy on the new club house. They are working on it every day and should be finished by the end of November. Wonderful!


We'll be back!

The new clubhouse is about 80% of the floor area of the original, but taller and much more earthquake resistant. The beams are cut to fit each other and bolted together rather than nailed. In addition, there are metal straps between them. By the end of the day, half the roof was covered in ply.

On the water, one of the bits of new kit we were trying out was our Zhik floatation vests. Not to USCG specs, which require 15.5lbs of buoyancy, these are made to European CE specs for people who can help themselves in the water and so they supply about 11 lbs of assist.

They are form fitting and thus don't present a problem ducking under the boom or trying to re-board the boat after a spill. I do like our MTI vests and will keep them for guests, but more than once I've caught mine on the boom when coming about and found it tougher to get back into the boat. The Zhik vests give us enough help floatation-wise without restricting movement or getting caught on things. I might think twice if we sailed in rough waters, but lake Hinuma is a small, protected lake, and help is always close at hand.

On a long downwind - which I arrange when getting thirsty - we tried out the new whisker pole.

The new whisker pole worked well. Much easier for Kimie to handle, more robust, and just as easy to stow.

The striped mullet were really jumping. More than we'd ever seen before. I was singing the tune "This Joint is Jumpin'". Here's a short video clip. Look between the blue jib sheet and the turnbuckle of the white stay to see several fish leaping.

This joint is jumpin'!

Speaking of gear, here's our camera mount, a "Camzilla" from Australia. I bought their kit which has six way to Sunday for mounting the camera.

There is a safety strap tied to the jib cleat and the the camera has a floatation wrist strap which is suction cupped to the hull as well.

There were two other sailboats on the lake - almost twins: a Sea Hopper and a Laser. At one point they were sailing right toward us and I thought I was getting some great video of them. Oh, well. I had the camera pointing too high and they were often below the bottom of the frame. I did get some decent frames toward the end.


It was a gorgeous day and we had a wonderful time playing with our new toys and chasing rainbows as it were. The wind was at about six knots - just perfect - and when we went to dock it died just as we reached the dock.

Hopefully, I won't find too many more "must have" bits anytime soon. I've spent enough this year. But happily, we have come to appreciate the things we do have and can focus more on how to get the most out of them.

"Get 'em up Scout!" "Hi ho Bluesette, away!"

From an excellent and timely movie - "Brassed Off"

Until next, sweet sailing.

*Trivia: Clayton Moore, The Lone Ranger, lived a few blocks from the house where I grew up. A great guy both on and off the set, I remember that he gave away (plastic) silver bullets on Halloween. We need heroes like him today. Where are they?


Sandscraper said...


You hit the proverbial "nail on the head", for I too started and maintain my Blog primarily to keep a diary of sorts and inform my family what the "black sheep" is up to, moment by moment.

However, I encourage all others in the blogosphere to share my experiences, perhaps they will avoid some of my mistakes and yet they might be motivated to try some of the things that I have enjoyed.

Thanks for sharing your diary, I enjoy each post and better yet, look forward to the next.

Sandscraper said...

I have been looking at the GoPro, Hero series for a camera that would adapt to my sailboat as well as the motorcycle. I found one that I like, just waiting till Fl. for the installation.

Don Snabulus said...

It is good to see rebuilding and learn a bit about sailing and PFD standards. The food, as always, is mouth watering. Keep it up!

Pandabonium said...

Sandscraper -

Thanks for reading Sweet Bluesette. I really appreciate it, as well as your comments. It is nice to make connections through the blogoshere and share our experiences.

I've seen the GoPro Hero series online. Looking forward to some great pics from you.

Don -

you won't learn much over basics about sailing from me, but I hope I can make it entertaining for you. :) As a novice, I find all this stuff interesting, and isolated as I am from other sailors (lido sailors by distance and local sailors by language) I am always experimenting on my own.

The food, well, it's all about sailing, food, and friends. It wouldn't be much fun without good food.

Zen said...

Sashiburi ne!

Genki deska?

a good post and something I can comment on... later, The newest one ...hmmm...not so much. (-_-)

Pandabonium said...

Zen -
So desu ne. Okagesama de genki desu.