Sunday, September 25, 2011

September Song

Oh, it's a long, long while from May to December,
But the days grow short, when you reach September.
When the autumn weather turns the leaves to flame,
One hasn't got time for the waiting game...

For the days dwindle down, to a precious few...
September... November...
And these few precious days, I'll spend with you
These precious days, I'll spend with you.

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Pictures by Pandabonium and Kimie.

May to December is our sailing season and when September rolls around, I count how many times we've gone sailing since May, and start itching to get more time on the lake before it gets too cold.

As often is the case, the passing of a typhoon made for some beautiful sailing weather in following days. We were off late on Saturday, so first stop was Mama's Kitchen where we found Mama and her two daughters running the show.

Kimie had pasta with broccoli and ham in a mild curry cream sauce.
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I went for tuna and mushrooms in tomato sauce.
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Desert was too much for me, so I just ate the fruit. Kimie had no trouble polishing off the rest for me.
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A happy surprise awaited us at the yacht harbor - the foundation for a new clubhouse to replace the one lost to the earthquake six months ago!

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There were three sailboats on the lake - a Sea Hopper, a Flying Junior, and a Semi (cicada). Three fishing boats had gone to sea, one personal watercraft had just pulled out of the water. That's all good, as it means business is coming back.

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(click picture to enlarge) Mt. Tsukuba on the horizon. We've climbed to the top for the spectacular view

The sky was beautiful and visibility was at least 22 miles, as evidenced by the sight of Mt. Tsukuba. Winds were from the ENE at about 10 to 12 mph. We couldn't ask for better than that. The air was fairly cool - in the low 70s F - and once on the lake we soon realized that we both had dressed a bit too lightly, but we would survive. Water temp was same as the air.

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We headed for the north east shore to play a game of weaving our way through the hundreds of bamboo poles put out by net trap fishermen. Then we'd sail back toward the south shore for another run. On our last tack toward the poles, we were chased across the lake by two kids in a Flying Junior and when they finally got close enough, they called over to ask if they could sail along side of us. We said fine, but before they could turn around their instructor showed up in a powered skiff and herded them back to the harbor.

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Afterward, Kimie ran into one of the kids who had been sailing the FJ and she turned out to be 10th grade high school student and member of the yacht club.

Some more pics...


This was our last sail for September. It was a memorable day and one to treasure as we revisit the pictures during the cold days of February next year. We have another ten weeks or so to make sailing memories this year. I will try to savor each and every time.



"And these few precious days, I'll spend with you..."

Until next, sweet sailing.

Lido 14 Traveler

By request...

These pictures show the basic traveler set up on the 6000 series Lido 14. Schock sells a replacement line which is (I think) 5.5 feet in length. When I replaced mine (they tend to get worn at the hole in the deck) I just used the original line to measure a like amount of new line. It's 3/8ths diameter. First I tied the loop in the middle, fed one end into the hole in the gunwale and put a knot on the end to hold it so that the loop was in the right place. Finished by tying off the other end and trimming the excess line off each end.

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The top of the loop, when pulled up at center can be no more than 22" from the bottom of the transom at center line. This rule is to prevent the traveler line from allowing the sail to be trimmed to weather of center line which might give an advantage.

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The mainsheet end is split and spliced to a shackle which is used to attach it to the Crosby traveler. I hope these pics help you visualize it.

Check with the Lido 14 Association. I'm sure there is someone out there who has switched their classic to the Crosby style traveler and can help you find the best way to go about it. Good luck.

PS: I just found this picture of a newly replaced classic transom with a traveler system mounted right on the transom. The top loop of the traveler is hanging down in the boat in this pic. The picture is from the transom rebuild instruction article by DoubleWave. The article is part of the "Lidopedia" linked in the right column of this blog.



Until next, sweet sailing.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Okey Dokey after Roke

Typhoon Roke ripped over us last night. It was the strongest storm I've experienced since moving here seven years ago, with winds of 90 mph.

It knocked down some Japanese cedars in the area...

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Snapped others...

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We brought Momo the Wonder Dog into the main house as Roke approached and closed up all our storm shutters. We faired pretty well, except Momo's dog house was picked up by the wind (Aunty Em, Aunty Em!) and tossed into the yard breaking off half it's roof and some other bits.

The storm also ripped off half of the roofing of our patio. It's just corrugated polycarbonate panels held in an aluminum frame, so not too difficult to replace. Lost some veggies plants and pomegranates, but that's about it as far a damage.

Around dinner time, we had a blackout, but it only lasted for 15 minutes. Later in the evening, one section of the patio roof that was still attached was being curled up by the wind and snapping back onto the frame making a terrible racket. I didn't want to hear that all night so after the wind had abated (to maybe 50 mph) I went out, climbed up and placed two concrete blocks on it to hold it down. With a bit more quiet, we tried to go to sleep, but minutes later at 10:30 PM there was an earthquake - about a 3 on the Japanese scale, and it seemed to last a long time. 5.3 on the Richter scale. After that we slept well!

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Looking forward to sailing on Saturday (about time).

Until next, sweet sailing.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

A Lido 14 and a Cloud to Steer Her By

Saturday was a beautiful day for sailing Bluesette, with the temperature in the high 80s F, blue skies with splashes of cumulus clouds, and a steady, cooling breeze off the ocean at about 6 mph.

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As it was late morning when we arrived at the lake, we opted to eat lunch first. Neither of us was very hungry, so we went for lighter fare than usual at Mama's - I had an egg sandwich on a bagel with fruit, while Kimie had fried rice, chicken and curried potato patties. The meals included a visit to the salad bar, but no dessert. Delicious as always.

Please allow time for all nine pictures to load. Click to view individual pics.


We had our first serious run-in with a bamboo pole. We were on a down wind leg very close to the north shore. A clump of bamboo poles lay ahead and slightly to starboard and I was planning to do a 270° turn before reaching them, so I ignored Kimie's repeated warnings of "stakes!" "stakes!" "oooooh, stakes!".

It turned out that she was referring not to the clump of poles that I had fixated on, but a single one dead ahead. The 1 inch diameter stake was set in the lake bottom like all the others used for holding net traps, and stuck out about two meters above the surface. I hit it first with the port bow and it slid along the rail until hitting the main and boom which rode over it, bending the bamboo, but pushing the boom in toward the boat as well. As it popped back up from under the boom, it was between the boom and the outstretched mainsheet, which it snagged. Fortunately, although it was pulling the boom back again, it bent over once more and freed itself from the mainsheet without causing us to jibe.

I quickly executed the 270 and we were on our way back toward the center of the lake. We argued briefly about what Kimie should have said to warn me of the specific hazard, but I soon realized that no matter how she put it, I probably would have hit the pole anyway because I was so focused on the large stand of poles. We laughed about it. Situational awareness lesson learned.


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"Begging your pardon, captain, but do you happen to notice the row of bamboo stakes off the starboard bow? Please try to avoid these, sir."


The striped mullet were jumping and I finally managed to get a picture of one in mid-flight.

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(The fish is in the lower left corner.)


After washing down Bluesette and putting her away, we headed for the showers. Kimie was drying off in the ladies shower room and I was still in the shower in the gents, when I thought I heard a freight train coming. No freight trains around Hinuma, this was an earthquake. A fairly big one. Awkward place to be and fortunately it was over soon. No damage, except briefly to our nerves.

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We are used to frequent quakes off our coast, as they have increased in frequency by a factor of twenty since March 11th, but we usually only feel them as a level 1 or 2 on the Japanese "Shindo" intensity scale of 1 to 7. Saturday's quake was magnitude 4.8 on the Richter Scale, and the epicenter was about 11 miles from where we were. We experienced it as a 4 on the Shindo scale.

That just shows we should have stayed out on the water longer. ;^)

As for the title of this post, you may ask, "Why a cloud to steer her by and not a star?" Well, we're on a small lake, in daylight, with nowhere in particular that we need to go. A cloud is as good a guide as any for a lovely afternoon sail. Don't you think so?

Until next, sweet sailing.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

The Dog Beach Boogie



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Kimie and Momo got home from a walk just as rain started to come down in earnest. They look happy. I wonder if they were doing the dog beach boogie during the walk.

Momo the Wonder Dog likes the beach, but not the ocean. Well, where we are the ocean is pretty rough after all. I think she just doesn't like bodies of water in general which is why she doesn't go sailing. Her breed (Shih Tzu) traces its roots to the mountains of Tibet, so I guess her preference for terra firma is understandable.

Until next, Sweet Sailing