madsu [pic] http://ff.im/58Ytx
Archimedes is apparently one of the 100 largest motor yachts in the world, #75 according to this website.
She was anchored in Mannion Bay, on Bowen Island, late this afternoon. I saw her pull in so I sailed over to get a couple of shots. Note the swimming pool on the upper aft deck. Nice touch.
The yacht has beautiful lines. And she’s big alright. Over 222 feet, and sports two, 2-thousand horsepower Caterpillar engines.
I wonder if they were heading over to the Eco-Shed ?
(cross posted to Madsu.ca)
My little sailboat Madsu, along with being a fine little pocket cruiser, is also base for a lot of the photographs I take in the summer.
I’ve been posting them to Flickr and on the blog here, but for some time I’ve been meaning to set-up a website focused on Madsu.
It’s at www.madsu.ca
Howe Sound is a true delight at this time of year, as daytime heating affects the air flow up the narrow sound.
The pattern lately has been outflow (northerly) winds in the morning, with the wind going light near noon, then a complete reversal in the afternoon to an inflow (southerly) building through the afternoon.
Over the long weekend it was almost like clockwork – on both Friday and Saturday I managed to sail downwind for a few hours, only to turn around and sail downwind home.
I’ve been getting lots of use out of my North Sails G-3 gennaker (cruising chute). I’m getting a lot faster setting the running rigging for the sail, so I’m using it a lot more.
On Friday I spent most of the morning getting my gybes down.
I had a distinct lack of confidence with the inside gybe – that’s where the clew passes ahead of the forestay but inside the tack, rather than bringing the clew all the way forward and around the tack. I know the theory but just couldn’t seem to get the sail around cleanly – a lot of it is timing.
The G-3 is very forgiving – fortunate for me – but after 4 or 5 ‘proper’ gybes I finally got the hang of it and now feel a lot better about having to do them quickly or in heavier air. The sail is so much fun to use, partly because Madsu behaves like a completely different boat off the wind when I’m using the cruising chute.
On Sunday the whole family was on board to enjoy the sun. We broad-reached north with the gennaker, then doused the chute and hoisted the 150 genoa for a leisurely beat home.
The wind piped up to about 15 knots and we had a fabulous trip home.
On a starboard tack with no-one below us, we cruised home at a lively 5 knots without a single tack. The only time I touched the jib sheet was to douse it when we arrived at Horseshoe Bay !
View Madsu in Howe Sound on Sunday in a larger map
I spent over an hour getting there, but who’s complaining. That hour was all sailing time, dock to dock, as I popped over to Bowen Island for a quick lunch meeting.
The great thing about sailing Madsu to a meeting ? Madsu is also the conference centre.
Its all room with a view.
We had a great hour long meeting sitting in the sun in Madsu’s cockpit.
It was impossible to resist the steady breeze ,so the trip back took a bit longer. I just had to spend a bit of time tacking my way towards the Straight, all in the name of processing the topics discussed at the meeting, of course.
I did have to tuck a reef in the main and Madsu did a nice steady 5 knots to weather until the wind started to go lighter around 4, when I eased the sheets and reached my way back to Horseshoe Bay at a comfy 4.5 knots.
If every meeting could be like this one, I’d be booking a whole lot more of them…
Sitting in Madsu’s cockpit patching a few small dents in the gelcoat on the cockpit lockers, I can’t help notice Howe Sound’s dramatic sky.
The day was a round-robin of sun, rain, thunder, and little squals.
The patching I’m doing is really fixing old patches that have fallen apart. They aren’t big, maybe half the size of a dime. I can’t quite figure out how they were caused in the first place, a 30 year old boat has a lot of secrets to tell. Probably a dropped wrench or some other heavy tool. One or two of them look like they might have been from the boom, maybe dropping the main without the topping lift (my boom kicker avoids that altogether).
The wind’s howling again.
I’m wishing I was heading out instead of sitting here with a putty knife and sandpaper. I’ve got a couple of new jibs coming from Dave and Marcia at North Sails for this type of weather, and I console myself with the thought that it would be a rough ride today with my bagged out #2.
Patches done, I head up to the foredeck to soak up some of the late afternoon sun, the smell of salt water and sounds of the harbour surround me.
EB and I spent a fabulous day sailing Howe Sound – my rather lame mother’s day gift to her.
The sound was picture perfect, with some high thin overcast causing a slight ring around the sun.
There was a sweet inflow that had us humming at 5.5 to 6 knots to weather, with Madsu right in the slot the boat was made for, heeled between 15 and 20 degrees, the 150 genoa driving us to weather with a nice steady motion through the chop.
We beat for about an hour and a half or so, tacking to follow the wind shifts, with hardly any traffic. Lots of harbour seals were popping up so the feeding must be good.
On the way back I ran dead downwind for quite a long time, my back to the pushpit and my feet up. I was pretty close to nodding off, as it warmed up considerably as was ran wing on wing. Great was to spend the day.
The boys and I had an awesome day sailing in Howe Sound.
The overcast sky occasionally spit out of a few drops, but we managed to avoid the real rain until we got back to the dock around 4pm, pure luck that one.
The wind was a steady inflow with some lovely gusts that put Madsu’s rail down a few times – I kept debating whether to reef the main as I’d already gone to a smaller jib, but the puffs didn’t materialize into anything. We kept a steady 5 knots to windward with maybe 3 other sailboats in sight the entire afternoon.
On the way back, while beam reaching, two Dall’s porpoises surfaced twice off the port beam while we were on starboard tack. They were tracking straight towards the beam, and I’m pretty sure they went straight under the boat. They’re always a thrill to see and I headed up hoping they’d come and ride the bow wave, but they went on their way and we didn’t see them again.
I was stealthy, but to no avail.
I thought I’d sneak up and get some photos, and even though I was all silent-running-like, the ducks were on to me.
The day threatened to turn from grey to drizzle, but never did. Madsu hummed along on a steady outflow in Howe Sound.
It’s always a delight to balance the boat – then set the tiller extender into the lock box and head up to the foredeck while Madsu sails herself
Sitting on the foredeck, I’m quickly reminded that it’s April. The wind blowing down from the local mountains, through Howe Sound, is chilly. It’s not surprising considering how much snow is still up there. Even in the height of summer, the catabatic winds in Howe Sound can be cold. I’m in shorts but I wish I’d brought my toque.
The new rope clutches and deck organizers I installed have worked out even better than I’d hope for. The double Spinlock clutches fit the cabin top just right. (Oddly, even though they are doubles, the drill template that came with them was for a single – and useless)
I like their size and mechanism, and Steveston Marine gave me a better than advertised price on them after I did some comparison shopping online.
The line organizers were a bit of a struggle. Almost everything I looked at was much too big to fit just forward of the pop-top. I finally settled on some simple aluminum doubles from Barton. I made a bit of a mess with the sealant when I installed them, but I should be able to clean it up ok.
It may not be warm, but it’s not raining. BC’s got some mighty impressive shades of grey when the sun isn’t shining.
Madsu’s sailing herself nicely on a close reach.
It’s great to be out sailing again.
Even if I didn’t have much luck with the ducks.
It’s a sure sign of spring. Madsu made the move from her off-season storage next to the house, to her salt-water moorage at Sewell’s in Horseshoe Bay.
She’s got an “I can see myself in this shine” buff on her fiberglass – it wasn’t nearly as much work this year as last – proof that buffing up the gelcoat is worth it if you do it every year. Catalina really put these boats together well – that’s 30 year old fiberglass shining like it just came out of the mold.
Before hauling the boat down to the marina, I gave the non-skid on the deck a work-over with our powerwasher, packed in all the interior cushions, loaded sails, safety gear, charts, and the most essential item – a coffee pot.
A rental F-150 truck, a few miles down the road later, MB and I step the mast in the Thunderbird Marina parking loft, and the next thing you know, Madsu’s on the lift. The guys in the yard at Thunderbird are totally awesome – I highly recommend them. Madsu looks rather elegant hanging out on the Travelift!
I gave Madsu’s steel swing keel a fresh coat of rust paint – I’m not using anti-fouling paint at all since the boat comes out yearly. You can see the large sacrificial anode bolted 2/3rds of the way forward on the keel.
With Madsu on the lift, you also get a really good idea of how little surface area is actually in the water – with her keel up like this, Madsu only draws about 2 feet.
We had some other things to do, so MB and I made haste for our moorage at Horseshoe Bay. I couldn’t help but notice the snowline on the North Shore mountains, and smiled knowing that while we were sailing, loads of folks were boarding and skiing just a few miles away.
Being able to trailer our sailboat Madsu is a tremendous advantage.
For one, she spends the stormy winter months parked next to our house, under a full Sumbrella cover.
But the real bonus comes in the spring, when it’s time to get the boat ready for another sailing season.
Now that my seasonal moorage at Horseshoe Bay is available again, spring time prep is just steps out the door.
Today Madsu got buff. With Aretha Franklin on the MP3 player, the hatches open and the sun shining, I spent the day buffing and polishing with a variety of 3M products.
Its such a delight to see the glimmer come back to the hull and cockpit and I find it amazing how 30 year old fiberglass can look brand new with a little elbow grease and rubbing compound.
In the next couple of days I’ll get the mast out of its winter home (hung under the roof overhand in our backyard), put the spreaders back in place, and load Madsu up for the short trip down to the water and a lift back into the salt chuck.
I did loads of work on the boat last spring, so I get a bit of a ‘buy’ this year – not much to do other than clean things up.
I spend a bit of time re-affixing the electrical conduit in the huge port locker, replaced the corroded connectors on the solar panel and attached a new sacrificial anode to the keel. Since all the cabin cushions spend the winter inside, they’re fresh as a daisy. I’ll give the inside of the cabin good cleaning and then we should be good to go. And not one bit of it feels like work.
Especially with Aretha helping out.
My little sailboat Madsu will be back in the water in 63 days.
I was in Horseshoe Bay on other business today and took a walk down the dock. It’s a very different feel this time of year, the docks deserted and today, wet from a light snow fall.
Yet as soon as I walked down the ramp, I immediately felt that thing I feel every time I go down to the boat. Its impossible to describe – a connection of some kind that can’t really be articulated.
In sixty three days I won’t need to try to articulate it – I can simply go – and be.
The answer is simple.
Cruising with Madsu on a typical BC summer day.
It’s possible it gets better than this, but I doubt it
A little reminder of what to expect (again) in just a few months. And really just an excuse for me to futz with Final Cut Studio 2 which arrived this week.
The title of a 1975 album by Supertramp has absolutely nothing to do with the current financial meltdown. But the phrase (also from the movie Day of the Jackal) is my favourite response when things get testy.
With every news report laden with the latest stories on the financial crisis, and an election campaign both here and in the US, its time to deal with this stuff once and for all.
Down on the docks at Horseshoe Bay there was no inkling of anything other than the typical waterfront activity.
Ferries from Bowen Island, Departure Bay on Vancouver Island, and Langdale came and went like clockwork. And hundreds of cars – long-weekend mainlanders heading to a B&B or Gramma’s house – lined up (as usual) waiting for their boat to arrive.
Over on the east docks, where Madsu is moored, river otters continue to make a mess on boats tied there. Given the choice between munching their seafood on the rocks or on a nice Sumbrella fabric cover, they go for the boat covers ever time.
They also seem to like those lovely upholstered seats in power boats, and they leave quite a mess.
Here’s what they left behind on the boat in the slip next to me.
This is the same guy who’s parents leave CBC Radio One on in their boat, claiming it keeps the otters away ( and it seems to work).
My boat neighbour though claims he’s found the perfect anti-otter-repellant: wolf pee. I’m not entirely sure how he’s going to acquire it, or how he’s going to apply it, and if his boat will smell better or WORSE because of it, but what the heck – sounds like a plan
Over at the government dock, a big vintage power vessel was tied up, getting all gussied up for what looked like a wedding party.
I’ve not seen the Tarapunga before, and her aft deck was decorated with ribbons and flowers – but the wedding is a fake: they were shooting on-the-water scenes for the TV series Harper’s Island.
While I was out sailing, Tarapunga went steaming by – not far behind the picture chopper flew just a hundred feet or so off the deck – swooping in on Tarapunga for what I’m sure will be a very sweet shot since as she steamed out into the Straight with the sun glistening off the water.
Beautiful BC couldn’t be much more adorable than it was today.
I tried to get Madsu in the shot but when it comes to a race between my Catalina 22 and a helicopter, well…
The wind piped up so I put a 2nd reef in the main and pulled out my bagged out old jib.
Six hours later I was back at the dock, giving Madsu a proper scrub down after soaking the foredeck in salt-spray.
One fine Thanksgiving Weekend sail – and the only bail-out I considered the entire day was in relation to the dinghy.
Markets ? What markets?
And the prairie boy in me still finds it amazing to be able to head over to the dock after work, go out for a sail, and still be home for dinner.
That’s precisely what I did today. Though I missed most of the afternoon sunshine, it as still a delightful couple of hours and an excellent way to unwind.
The wind was super light so I doused the 150% jib and hoisted the cruising chute. This is my first season with the gennaker and I can’t believe the difference it makes having this sail. Today is a prime example – on a beam reach the wind was barely filling the jib, and though I was moving, it was painfully slow.
As soon as I hoisted the cruising chute, the boat took off. I’ve got a NorthSails G3 which is a bit smaller than their big gennaker – its super easy to handle and having a snuffer means I hoist it more often knowing it’s not a big deal, even if I’m sailing by myself, as I was today.
Short of a dead still day, this sail keeps me moving, and for day sails where destination isn’t all that important, the off-wind performance is really nice to have.
Even though Madsu’s cruising chute is small, it’s still magic playing the sheet on the kite, and the sight of all that material full to the shoulders and pulling, is quite mesmerizing.
Given the option of heading to a bar for a quick one after work, or doing this ? No contest.
Saying goodbye to August with an afternoon on Madsu in Howe Sound. Plenty of puffs interspersed with dead spots made for a challenging hopscotch across the sound.
It’s a bit convoluted, but while sailing this morning I was also using the sun to charge my mobile. There’s something magic about silently ghosting along under sail – added bonus is charging batteries at the same time.
On a sailboat, you typically charge up your batteries while using the engine. Just like in your car, an alternator on the motor charges the 12 or 6 v batteries on the boat. But since there is no alternator on Madsu’s old outboard, the only way to charge the 12 volt batteries that run the lights and other on board equipment is to use a battery charger plugged in while at the dock. I do have a 110v AC marine trickle charger installed, but all last season and so far this season, I’ve relied on a 14 x 14 solar panel I bought at West Marine.
It trickle charges the batteries and I’ve not had to plug-in to shore power since I bought it. I put a switch on the panel so that I can send the charge to either one of the two batteries on board, and so far, I’m super happy with the performance of the little panel. I mount it on the stern pushpit, clamped to the rail mount I use for the Force 10 BBQ which is stowed unless I’m using it.
When it was on sale last year, I also bought a small (coffee cup sized) inverter. It plugs into the cigarette lighter socket on the boat and outputs AC. Today I used it to charge my cell phone. I don’t have a 12v charger for the mobile, and don’t need to buy one. The solar panel charges the batteries, the batteries provide power to the inverter, and the inverter outputs AC to my standard phone charger. Nice.
Garnet and I were lucky enough to be joined by Aron and Bella on our FullMoon Sail last Friday night.
I got a bit of video footage – fun night. Sorry the video’s so dark but it WAS already quite dark (it’s gonna get darker), and I left the good camera on dry land…
We had an incredible night sailing under the full moon last night (18th July).
Despite a morning of cloud cover, the afternoon cleared up and we had a completely clear sky for our night sail. We left Sewell’s around 9:00 and there was a lovely 10-12 knot inflow wind.
We had a couple of guests with us, and even though they were novice sailors they did amazingly well. In fact, I put AB on the tiller most of the night and within a few minutes he was sailing the tell-tales like a pro. We were doing between 5 and 5.5 knots to weather thanks to just a light chop. (a short video here)
By the time the moon made it over the West Van hills it was close to 10 pm and we sailed by the light of the moon for another hour and a half before heading back. We did see one complete idiot (a sailboat I might add) with no running lights making way to Bowen – crazy. Otherwise, just the usual ferry traffic and one big barge with tow.
There’s nothing quite like the magic of a full moon night under sail. Hope we get as lucky in August !