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Sat, Oct. 16th, 2010, 08:23 am

Well, I must be heading toward the end of my really serious racing thoughts. Got an offer a bit back for my spare mast. Stars when raced really hard can go through masts, and they are more expensive to replace than old hulls. Some people buy old Stars just for the masts. I picked on up down in California a few years ago when I first started getting into racing the boat down in Victoria and was concerned about the mast that came with #6983. A very strange mast that really wanted to invert all the time if you did not keep it very heavily pressured back. So when Rick The Star Guy was doing a trip up the coast to deliver a boat I asked if he had any lightly used spare masts he could bring at the same time, to save a lot of shipping hassle, and he had a virtually new Emmetti, so I bought it. Its been sitting as a backup ever since and #6983 is long gone by this time, with its original mast still intact. The fellow down in Victoria that first got me into racing Stars, Malcolm Smith, is putting together a new boat for himself and he is a big Emmetti fan, so wanted to put one on in place of the quite fine Sparteck mast that came with the boat. We briefly discussed price and his offer was far too good to refuse for a spare I was not looking to be needing anyway, so I said yes and he came up and collected it. But I think my ease at letting it go means I am no longer seriously considering putting in the time and effort to get the skills to be at the top of the regionals. I still plan to race locally, and on occasion take #7612 to a regatta up here on the Island and in Vancouver, or even down to Washington or Oregon, but not likely to go past that. Must be getting old... :)

Thu, Jun. 24th, 2010, 07:19 am

Again it has been a while. There was a meeting at the RVYC during the winter to try to get some sort of Star racing organized again, but it was all the same people, so I did not hold out a lot of hope. As spring hit, that proved accurate, with the first night getting 5 boats but from there on 2-3 being the norm. This continues to make it not really worth while for me to keep the racing boat down there, so instead it sits on its trailer and I just run it to the occasional regatta, having for the time continued to have given up on weekly racing. I did do the first 4 races of the season at the local Ladysmith club but won all 4, so do not intend to race there again this season. Not only is it mainly handicap racing, as there is only one other Star to compete against, but also the competition is just not enough to keep me interested, plus it is better for overall relations with club members not to overwhelm their local events calendar. So, this year is going to be pretty light on racing too, from the looks of it.

Fri, Nov. 27th, 2009, 09:49 am

Well, it has been some time. The drought of the summer finally ended about a month ago. This year it went for almost 7 months, basically from mid March to mid October with virtually no rain, and never any above what they call a shower or a trace. That was a lot of watering plants and trees to keep things alive. When it did start raining about 6 weeks ago, it tried to make up for the previous dry spell. I think we have had 300+ mm in the last 6 weeks, which has had me down to Trapezium next to the dock at Ladysmith Marina more often to bail out the boat than to sail it. Today, however, looks to be clear, going up to +8C, and moderate winds, so I will take her out today, for only the second or third time this November. It has been wet.

Meantime Piranha sits out back all set up for winter and long term storage on her trailer. All the cleanup for her has been done, everything packed away, and general organization done. I popped off the back bumper completely, just to make her fit the spot better and of late all I do is occasionally sweep off the cedar and fir needles that fall on the cover. Down in Victoria, Star racing has stopped completely. There were only 3 of us racing there after the spring series (where there had been 6-7 regularly), and when I pulled the boat back up here last July, that went down to only 1-2 showing up on Wednesday nights, but when September hit both of those quit too, and since not a single Star has shown up for any round the buoy or regatta. Basically, the class is now dormant on the Island except for the two of us up here in Ladysmith, and racing here is mainly over until next February.

It had a really good run, but these sorts of things do tend to go in cycles. If it starts to pick back up, I will take Piranha back down there and do it again, but if not, well, I have a spare Star ready to take off to regattas just sitting out back ready to go. :)

pax, smn

Tue, Jul. 28th, 2009, 04:33 pm

Today we went down to Victoria early, trying to miss the heat of the middle of the day, to collect my Star from down at the RVYC and bring it back up here to North Oyster.

For the first series of Wednesday night races this year we had excellent participation with 4-6 boats out each night (I ended up with a second place overall for that first series), but as the second series started that fell to only 3 and the club instead of starting the Stars on their own mixed us in with a couple of other classes, which is a very negative thing. The result was it dropped to only 1 or 2 boats. At that point it is not worth it for me to make the trip down, and with no indication it is going to change this year, I figured I would stop taking up foreshore space and paying for it, and instead wait to see if things improve. I can always bring the boat back down then.

So, We were there by a bit after 10AM and the boat came apart for transport very smoothly, plus the setup on this trailer for transport is super smart (German trailer) with screw down clamps to hold the boat in position and on top of the clamp system there are mount places for spare masts, booms, etc. I strapped on both masts, both booms, got everything ready, and then discovered that the trailer also needs a 1 7/8s ball, not the 2 incher more common to Star trailers. A fast trip to Home depot near by found them out of that size, but there was a Canadian Tire not far from there, and though I hate buying at CT, it always has that sort of stuff, so I went in, got one for a big $7, and with only an hour delay for all that we were off with the boat heading north. Air conditioner on full. By 2pm Piranha was parked out back of the house. Too hot to clean it up, put on a cover, and clear out the storage lockers today. Maybe tomorrow morning.

Cool on the lower level, though, so I straightened out the sails, re-rolled as needed, put the boat cover in the washing machine for a good cleaning, and generally organized. Much better than being outside today. On the news the other night, when talking about this heat spell we are having, the meteorologist said it was seriously unusual to have this sort of heat for this duration here. It happened back in 2004, but prior to that the last time was in 1928. A completely stalled high rather than the normal line of weak ones moving past seems to be the culprit.

pax, smn

Tue, Jul. 14th, 2009, 09:40 pm

My major task of a the weekend was to finally replace the ceiling fan in the living room area. It was the last light fixture remaining from when we bought the house and I have hated it from day one. Those tulip bulb type shades drive me nuts. Plus, as we replaced the oil heat with a heat pump when doing the renovations after buying the house, the ceiling fan itself became redundant.

Two problems with doing all this held it off. First, I was not smart enough to buy two identical light fixtures at the same time for both the bedroom and the living room. The bedroom one we replaced almost immediately, and in the ensuing years, its 'style' became hard to find. Eventually (well, 4 years later), with occasional stop ins at lighting places and rums past the lighting sections at department stores, we found one that though not identical is pretty close, certainly close enough not to matter except to a decorating fanatic, and neither of us qualify.

The second problem is that the fixture is on the main carrier log for the peak of the roof, which from the living room floor is about 20 feet up. That means a very long ladder and working at really awkward positions with very heavy and breakable items. So, even after having the new fixture for a few months, I hesitated. But Friday I borrowed the required ladder from the neighbor across the road and gave it a run.

Generally, I suppose, it went well. Or as well as could be expected. The old fixture did not want to come off and because two of the attachment screws were on the opposite side from the ladder and it could only go up on one side, things had to be done backwards and faced away. And that thing is seriously heavy. Eventually it came off, but doing so bent up mounts so that getting the new one on was a major trial. And it is not light either, though no where near as heavy as the fan.

So, it is done, works well, and looks good. But now I have this fan. Which is the point of this story. It is a seriously heavy duty type, probably 15 + years old but works perfectly, brass, 5 blades, 4 bulb sockets, and moves a lot of air. Free to anyone that wants it and will pay the shipping. Let me know.

pax, smn

Fri, May. 16th, 2008, 02:40 pm

I just got back from sailing. Remarkable day. I ended up in a BC Moment on the way back. I was in a light air (4-5 knots) broad reach (solo sailing my International Star) and a pod of orca surfaced around me. They stuck with me from outside Transfer Beach through the narrows and all the way down to the sawdust barge pier at the mills, about 2 NM.

Distance varied between 5 and 15 meters the entire way. 5 of them, I am pretty sure. A calf and an adult that always surfaced together, two adults that always surfaced together, and a single adult that was always by himself. Or there might have been two singles, but no way to be sure.

They were short dorsal fin, by the way, and all seemed to have sort of lighter grey patch somewhat in front of the dorsal fin.

Most cool. :)

Mon, Apr. 28th, 2008, 07:58 am
Writer's Block: House Call

Whose house (besides your own) were you in last and why?


Lets see, that would be our friends in Vancouver, Darlene and Margret, and their daughter Cayley. And the visit was for their legally official wedding to add on to their initial wedding of 6-7 years ago that was, by poor luck, about 2 months prior to the government in BC passing a law that would have made them official back then.

pax, smn

Wed, Feb. 20th, 2008, 03:23 pm
Trailers

Yesterday was interesting. The tides and weather coincided so I decided to take try #3 at getting the boat here in Ladysmith out of the water using my modified trailer. Normally Stars are lift out boats, and the trailers come designed only for that. I have modified one of mine to try to turn it into a float out trailer, and my last try at using it found that my planned hitch extension was still not enough to get the forward bunk deep enough, due the the angle of the local ramp, to be able to get the boat out with the trailer attached to the truck.

So, yesterday we tried the rope and haul system. Backed the trailer to the top of the ramp, tied a line to the front and to the back of the trailer, took the back line out the finger float for a haul down, and and took the trailer off the truck but attached them via the front line as a haul out line. Then, gravity does its thing with a bit of a push onto the slope and the trailer is in the water. Took a bit of messing about to get it lined up under water properly, and then paddled the boat over it, tied them together with some hold down lines I had attached to the trailer, and back to the truck to haul up.

Generally, it worked well. Cracks on that side of the ramp were a problem, and cracked the small front wheel on the trailer, so that will have to be replaced and next time I need to use the other side of the ramp, which looks somewhat smoother. The tie down lines on the back need to be a couple of meters longer, and their attachments, front and back, need to be stronger as they can end up taking the full weight of the boat for an instant or two when getting motion started, and just a couple of screws will not hold that. And now I know I need to position the boat about 10cm further back for ideal placement of the keel and the trailer pads. But all in all, it went well. The boat is out and at the marine service center, where the bottom will get pressure sprayed off, a few muscles removed, and fresh bottom paint touch ups done, and then she can go back in for another year, smoother and faster.

Oh, and I need to buy a sand bag for balancing the tongue weight. I had forgotten that we put all that extra steel into the back of the trailer when we split out the full length back bunk and had to add supports to the resulting side pads, so now the balance is too far to the rear, sitting almost at neutral. A hundred lbs or so forward will handle that, just for safety sake.

And though I have not seen official results from the race last weekend, prior to getting the bottom cleaned off, the other Star did not come out so we are only looking at handicap racing. In that, I might have gotten a second, as it was a very low, very fickle wind day, and it filled in to Peter's side of the bay way before it did on my side, so he was hugely ahead, likely enough to offset any difference in the handicap numbers, particularly considering the wind shifts that put the race into having two long down wind spinnaker runs and one short reach, which is pretty hard on us no spinnaker boats. I think 3 other boats finished physically before me, but they handicap way faster, so I likely have them once that is taken into account.

So, not a bad start to the local season, and with a clean bottom, we should be a lot faster in the light stuff next race.

pax, smn

Tue, Aug. 21st, 2007, 09:22 am
Changing Boats Again, You Are Surprised, Right? :)

Been a long time since my last entry, spent mainly working on fixing things on the boat in Victoria, though also a few changes to the one in Ladysmith, though nothing big, just minor improvements to things like the back stay adjuster pulley system. The fixes to 6983 down in Victoria have always been much greater things, but that is ending now too.

The big news is that last night I did some wheeling and dealing by email with Bob Britten down in New Mexico (where he is on vacation, he lives in Victoria and teaches at a private school there) and I now own Pirahana, Star #7612. By the time we finished negotiating he had tossed in a brand new, never sailed set of sails from Quantum (worth about $3k US when he got them last year) and a new set of carbon fibre battens (about $500), plus half a dozen training sails on the boat to show me things and give me tips on its particulars. Plus a very good actual price ($15K total, with its excellent shape Harbeck trailer and three full sail sets: a practice set, a sailed 3 regattas set of UKs, and the new Quantums). The speed of the deal getting worked out and extras were the result of Still Life, #7737 and also at the Royal Victoria YC, also coming up for sale, so suddenly there was competition.

The new boat, is in really exceptional shape. Hull clean and no serious stress cracking. As it is a Mader, the German builder that makes really solid Stars, and from a construction standpoint it is pretty much identical to the ones currently being made, its age is not of much concern, and it will be more than a decade younger than my others. For racing down at Royal Vic I am still sailing with Geoff Harrington, who signed on full time the middle of last year. That is good, though he has been 'off' for various reasons for the last 6 weeks or so. Fortunately the racing here has been almost absent for that same time frame as everyone was preparing for the Nationals, then off racing them, and now are back but too burned out to come out much.

Changing boats every year down here has really increased the steepness of the learning curve, as we pretty much have to restart almost from zero each time, but I think this boat is going to be a long term keeper. It is proved fast and is in good enough shape that I will hopefully be able to start concentrating on sailing the boat rather than figuring out the boat and fixing not working things every week. Of course, I think I was about done fixing things on #6983, which is about par for the course. The only thing I still had on my list was to paint the areas of fairing compound work on the rails I had done last week, and that will happen tomorrow.

Of course, that means I now own 3 Stars again, for a bit. Anyone want to pick up #6983 and its trailer very cheap? :) First $2500 takes her away. Hopefully I can sell her to someone up here so there would be 3 Stars up in Ladysmith, which would make for much more interesting fleet racing locally.

pax, smn

Thu, Jun. 14th, 2007, 07:21 am
Progress

Well, my sail last night at Wednesday night races down in Victoria was most interesting, after a day of fixing more things on the boat. The forecast was for 10 knots, dropping to 5 during the race with a light flow of tide. We got a solid 20 knots, bursting to 25, and dropping to 15 toward the end, with perhaps a 2 knot flow. Since our previous problems on this boat have been getting it to react correctly in high wind, and this is the highest we have ever had this one out in, we were both rather concerned as we did some running about prior to the start, practicing beating into a 3 foot swell, also a rather huge amount for Stars.

Anyway, a number of the changes made over the last couple of weeks such as shifting the mast forward several inches, adjusting the forestay to well shorter than the norm, and getting the outhaul working properly, plus trying out some suggestions from more experienced Star sailors for extreme depowering to compensate for our very light total crew weight, really came to the fore. We got a decent start, 3rd or 4th, and that was an indicator that we were doing better already. We then bounced two of the better boats on a starboard tack across, which was rather fun, particularly as one of them is a Worlds level, and by the first windward mark we were sitting at 3rd with 2 others hot on our tail. Over the next couple of legs we lost a couple of positions, gained one back, and then had a fairly serious line hang up coming around a downwind mark where we could not get in the windward backstay that left us fighting nose to wind for over a minute and put us back into 5th again, but we held that spot to the end of the race.

Generally, both Geoff and I came out of it very pleased, more so than we have ever been before, and more confident that the boat with the ongoing changes can actually handle that sort of weather without falling apart, as well as our being able to crew it to a reasonable finish. So, a real fine day on the water.

Problems for next week: the mast lever to move the mast forward on down wind still works fine ashore but not at all on the water, after 3 weeks trying to fix it, so, another week on it for sure. And the forward compartment in the double bottom has 3-4 cm of water in it, which we noticed as we came out of the water and the boat tried to heel over to one side. This is new, but then again, so is our being out in so much wind that we are taking water into the cockpit all the time, so obviously they are related. I will need to find where it is getting into the forward segment and try to seal it up. Plus bring down a hand pump to get it out. And something has now caused that backstay hang up on us twice, this time costing us a place at the finish line, so I need to look into that.

pax, smn

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