Today was Race Your House, where liveaboards race the sailboats they live on. They can bring crew along and claim handicaps and Raven got the highest handicap of them all–250. I have no idea what that means, except that we are slow.

We started out okay. We got our sails up and started making the calculated tacks and jibes that keep you close to the starting point. Those soon went awry as the wind failed to keep us going fast enough to finish our tacks and jibing around would cost us too much distance. Finally we went towards the breakwater too long trying to get up speed and ended up having to turn on the engine in order to not hit the rocks. Beep! we hear our starting horn and boom: we’re disqualified for having our engine running after the start horn.

We contemplated doing the race anyway, but decided that trying to get around the committee boat was going to keep posing a problem. We decided to go ahead and sail along the route and watch, turning back when we got close to Bainbridge Island. It was a very slow, straight sail. We chatted, ate and told stories, then we jibed for the return. It was uneventful, but fun and chill. Raven will not be participating in Race Your House next year, but maybe we can crew on someone else’s house.

Click on the photo to see more pics of the event.

…bikes? Vacations? Gummy bears?

I know most of my bikey friends are all about the n+1, but after a round of “fix all the things!” and bike shopping and frustration, I decided to upgrade my Surly Pacer and sell Lucille, the Bike Friday Tikit.

Lucille went home with a very nice man from Tacoma, whom I hope will find her quite trustworthy, especially with all her new components. I know that my mechanic will be happy to know she’s moved far away. He always did a wonderful job repairing her, but she was a pain in the ass.

My Surly Pacer–I’m thinking about naming her Dark Star after the Fremont Brewing’s Imperial Oatmeal Stout, which is my favorite winter beer. “Dark Star crashes, pouring its light into ashes, so follow as the Lady of Velvet recedes in the nights of goodbye. This one is too smooth …”–is all fixed up with new wheels, cassette and chain, bar end shifters, brake levers, front deraileur, fairly new chainrings and got herself a nice tune up. The gearing is the major improvement with an 11/30 instead of a 12/25. I was able to ride the way it was, but now I’m not sure why I did for so long. It’s like having a whole new bike.

I also cleaned the frame up and used some rustoleum spray paint to protect it. She is so pretty.

We took a 2 week sail in early July. It was a lot of fun with stops in Victoria Canada, Sidney Island, Jones Island, Friday Harbor, Lopez Island, Sucia, and Port Townsend. Lopez was really great and flat, allowing us to bike all over with the kids, visiting the farmers market, the grocery, and the bird sanctuary with them. Click on the picture to see more sailing photos.

And this last weekend, Chris and I went bike camping. We rode out separately, since I was off on Thursday and he came out on Friday night. We rode back together on Sunday. The rest of my family, whom we met there, drove and I still kick myself for not taking a picture of my bike among all of those cars. Again, click on the photo for more pictures of that adventure.

Right now I’m procrastinating on the final packing for our cruise to Alaska. This is on an actual cruise ship, not on Raven. I’m going to miss our hobbit hole. It might be time for a nap.

This morning I sat down to finally chronicle our two week sailing excursion to Canada and the San Juan Islands. But…my computer was freezing and being annoying. This has been happening a lot over the last few weeks. So, I restarted again and limped online and bought a Toshiba 13″ Chromebook which will be here tomorrow.

And now my computer is working beautifully. It has something to do with Windows Updates, and possibly a bad hard disk. I think I forstalled the problem my manually stopping the updates from processing, but that will only last so long.

I still want to post on sailing, but I’ll do that another day when I’m feeling it a bit more. In the mean time, I’m thinking about saying goodbye to Lucille. I put her on CL today for $900. We’ll see what happens.

Raven was hauled out this last weekend, so Chris and I stayed in an Air BnB in a nearby neighborhood. It was nice to have a shower close at hand, but the bed was a bit small for the two of us.

Raven now has shiny new bottom paint and Chris was able to get a few other chores done that work best when out of water–sinking the depth sounder in the hull being one of those. Here’s a video about some of the work he did:

I finally got the ripped or degraded sections of the bright work covers mended. I ended up doing them by hand, as it was all a little too tough for my machine.

Chris was able to get out for a sail on Tuesday, while I was at work. It was a beautiful day with just the right amount of wind.


We are now back aboard and happier for it. We’re heading off on a trip to Mystery Bay for the long weekend. The kids have been doing a lot of practicing on the PFDs and kayaks after school and on the weekends, so they’re ready to have some fun.

Life sometimes gets away from me. Early in April, my grandmother went to the hospital and then passed away, all in the span of 2 weeks. Then there were the arrangements and the memorial. There’s more, but not for me to worry about, since I’m not named in the will. Some will find this odd, but I’m glad I’m not. I loved my grandmother dearly and I don’t really want to be involved in the dismantling of her life and her home.

When she was young.

The view I will always remember

Since then, I’ve been buried in work, helping plan out trainings for my peers that  will pave the way for Teen Service Learning in our library system. It’s ambitious and I’m excited to see how it will work out for us and our teen patrons.

Chris has been working on Raven’s diesel motor for the last month as well. That day that we were supposed to have our second sailing adventure, I had to bail to go tothe hospital. He went out with our friends and the motor stalled. They still got out for a little while, but it was the start of quite a few problems–more going wrong with each thing fixed. It’s ending up being almost a complete overhaul, but hopefully when that’s done we’ll be underway once again. I’m not sure we’re going to make our Mystery Bay plans for Memorial Day weekend.

She did serve as a great place to have a party. Yesterday was completely gorgeous. I couldn’t have planned better for our Bike to Work team BBQ. We combined with the other SPL team and had around 25 people on Raven to celebrate.

There were more people below deck!

This is my third year being team captain and it’s really fun to motivate people to ride. And now I’m looking forward to our next party.

Here’s the bike when I went to pick up swag for my team.

Tonight we’ll be breaking out the bbq things again to celebrate The Boy’s 21st birthday. Hard to believe.

It’s been a little while since I’ve updated. There’s been plenty going on, both with the boat and in life in general and some of it was getting in the way of little things like updating the blog.

One thing we’ve been battling this winter/fall is humidity. We run a dehumidifier that does a great job of sucking water out of the air and clearing the windows.

Windows usually look like this in the morning in our stateroom.

Water still gets into out of the way places, like the storage space under our bed or under the spaces where we keep our clothes. So far nothing has molded too bad, except the straps on our travel bags.

To battle this, we use a mold and mildew cleaner that’s fairly safe and have added those annoying buckets of pellets that trap water. To keep our mattresses safe, Chris got us some Hypervent to go under the mattresses (prickly side up) and that has the added benefit of holding our sheets in place.

Non-sliding sheets make me happier than you can ever know. I also got us a mattress cover that zips around the mattress and holds the memory foam topper we have in place. We are sooo snug now.

It’s April, time for #30daysofbiking, which some people like and others don’t, both for good reasons. I signed up because I like giving kids free bikes for something I’d be doing anyway. I’ve biked each day so far (3 whole days!), but days off from work are really the test. Here’s a pic from yesterday when I rode through Maple Leaf Park on my way to work.

No water in that picture! Yet…

Since moving to the boat, my bikes have not been stored in a manner befitting their status in my life. My Bike Friday Tikit has been a little better off, folded carefully each evening and stowed in the cockpit under the waterproof travel bag–thank goodness I bought that thing, even if it’s never been used to actually hold the bike.

My Surly was on deck under a bike cover that almost kept the water out. My saddle still became saturated and I bought a brooks cover for it, which for a while just kept the water in, but eventually saddle dried out enough for the cover to keep water out.

I was so embarrassed by these lowly forms of storage that I never took a picture of either one. I ride to work every day and no longer have a car of my own, so biking is my main form of transportation. Beats getting worked up driving and paying for a gym membership. I definitely don’t want my bikes rusting.

I was on a wait list for a bike locker, and the marina staff seemed to be having a hard time contacting people to see if they wanted one of the several available. A few days ago, after almost 4 months, I was offered a spot at the north end of the marina, with the promise that once one came available outside of our dock, they would transfer it. The Surly finally has a dry home.

And if you’ve ever wondered what the inside of one of those bike lockers looks like, now you know.

I don’t think I’ll be able to fit Lucille in there as well, even folded, but we’ll see. I won’t try until I get the closer locker. Chris found a better way to store Lucille for the moment, in our Dock Box. She just fits and stays very dry. I even leave my helmet in there to keep it from cluttering up the boat. So, bike storage managed! Finally.

President’s Day was beautiful with just the right amount of wind for a first sail. Many friends joined us and helped us.

Here’s a video by Chris that shows what she looks like under sail–we have 4 up, but she actually can use 5. There’s a sail called a Mule that goes on upside down from what you’re used to, from mast to mast to catch light winds.

Most everything down below stayed where it was supposed to be during the sail to Bainbridge Island and back. The deck is large enough for people to be out there while we’re sailing. At one point we got chilled by the wind, so then everyone–all 10 or so people–filed into the cockpit. It’s so different being on a large boat. I’m looking forward to further adventures.

Chris and I are running away from this wet weather for a weekend getaway.  When I went to get our bags out from under our bed this morning, I found this:

Mildew!!! I’ve hated mildew since I went camping as a kid and our tents often smelled terrible. Luckily these don’t smell yet and I think I was able to clean it all off–we’ll find out for sure when they dry. Chris’ bag didn’t get any mildew and my travel bag only got a little, thank goodness. These are just a backpack I used in college and an Arkel Bug that I don’t use very often any more. It’s time I put them in storage.

Raven was previously moored in California and isn’t adapting well to our damp climate. I’m not sure that’s something we can fix, but we are certainly going to try. If you have any advice, please do comment.

On the commuting front, I’ve been riding Lucille to work exclusively, since I don’t have an easy storage solution for the Surly. That’s been working out fine, except that one of my tires is getting really worn. It was on the back, but I rotated it to the front the last time I had to change a flat. I also added a patch over a small crack that seemed to be picking up debris and causing the flats. Now the front has a slow leak and I really just need to get a new tire.

Today though, I decided to take the mile hike from sea level to the nearest bus stop. I don’t know the elevation, but I took this pano (click through for full size) from just over half way up the hill. It’s a nice little hike, although I won’t choose to do it in the dark.

We’ve been on Raven for over 2 months now and we get more and more comfortable there. At the same time, we keep finding things that need to be fixed, finished or could just be set up better. Chris has been revamping a lot of the plumbing and we recently had a wiring setback.

Our panel is old. Original probably, which isn’t surprising on a sailboat. You fix things when they break or you find them inconvenient. We hired a really awesome neighbor to fix it–and that is an awesome thing about boat life. You’re neighbors are often experts on the things you are not. We get a lot of free advice and help and we know when and who to pay when it’s time.

Chris is working on getting the sink drain fixed in the kids head along with hooking up the manual water pumps. I have been installing little battery powered lights in our dark nooks and crannies. I find that these work well:

They are bright and the batteries don’t need replacing often.

Chris and I also made a template of the area where I want all the spices today and we’re going to get some metal cut to fit the space. That will make all the space in there more useful. I still need to get more spice tins to use with it, and decide if I like the plastic or aluminum ones better. I’m also not sure about the magnets they come with, which seem unpredictable. I can replace them with these:

But I think I want to use the new metal plates first to see how it goes. I find that if I jump the gun on the next step, I often end up back tracking.

I’m also looking at an expensive set of nesting pans from Magma. We could definitely benefit from some more space in the galley, and our old Calphalon pans take up a lot of room with their handles sticking out every which way and need for multiple lids. I want to see the nesting pans first though, so we’re going to go to Fisheries later to check them out.

We are also looking at heaters and stoves. There are lots of things to take into consideration–my biggest question is “can it bake bread reliably?” We’ve tentatively settled on the Dickinson Caribbean 2 Burner Galley Range. The benefit being that 2 pans can fit comfortably, which they do not do on our current three burner range–so don’t even try a third pot.

Isn’t she shiny? It will probably be a while before we take the plunge with a range/stove. Heat should come first, and we still have a few other things to do before that’s top priority.


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