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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.

Raven has been here for a little over a week now, and we’ve already done a bit of work getting her back to sailing mode. None of which will feel real until we get the mast and rigging back up.

We have cleaned the inside up a bit and put up the dodger to protect the cockpit and entryway. I cleaned the master head as the sink drain exploded during the journey and there was drain gunk spattered about. It wasn’t too bad. The Mister went around and taped up all the holes where the hardware was taken out for the trip and just in time. It started raining soon after. I guess our unlikely hot summer is over.

On Tuesday night we spent our first night on Raven to test it out. It was super comfy and I slept very soundly, which is not always possible for me. We could hear the trains, but otherwise it was quiet and peaceful and I love the sound of trains going by. And I got to wake to this out of our stateroom portal (notice all the sailing terminology?? Eh?)

I was looking around the internet today, recouping from a biopsy on my precious day off from work, and came across this list of “Top 10 Things” to hate when living aboard. The list did not surprise me. I am expecting to hate doing laundry in a laundry room and the lack of space is something I expect as well.  It is good to be reminded of the condensation issue and I really didn’t know that power and flipping breakers might be a problem. I think it will be fine when it’s just The Mister and me, but when the kids are here, we sometimes put a lot of strain on the power grid. The comments on the post are worth checking out–people have come up with some great solutions. And there is also their previous post that lists the Top 10 Things they love about living aboard.

I had already decided that I needed a place to store my road bike and camping gear off the boat. Mildew is not my favorite thing, especially in tents and rust on my Surly!!??!! Not happening. I know I can get a storage space in Ballard fairly cheaply, but I’m also thinking about a place where I can get away occasionally and possibly do some sewing projects. There are office spaces at ActivSpace that go for $260 a month. That’s a lot more than a storage space, but utilities are included. If they had wifi, that would be wonderful, but that is not offered that I see. They are wired for internet, but I don’t really want another bill.

I was considering a membership at Makerhaus along with a storage space as a possibility, but I see that they are going away September 16th. This makes me sad. I did a tour in the Spring and wanted to come up with some reason to join because their offerings are so cool. Having access to all of those tools and space to set up the laptop and work on personal projects would have been great. Luckily I have a lot of time to figure out an alternative that will work for me. It would be nice if the space is something The Mister and I can both use, anyhow.

Update on Raven: She’ll be here on Monday! Once the ball gets rolling, it goes fast. I am so excited!

 

We were downtown this afternoon, playing tourist, when I remembered there was a Cost Plus nearby. They have all kinds of interesting kitchen gadgets, and I was pretty certain that they would have the size of spice container I wanted. And they did!

Spice Containers

I only got four for now. I’ve filled them with some of my most used spices and the size seems perfect. Here they are on our current fridge.

You might think I like curry and chili powder…and you’d be right.

If these continue to hold up over the next few months, I’ll buy more for the more ordinary spices, like basil and marjoram. 

The Mister spent some time cleaning out Serenity and I stayed with the kids and pumped up the paddle boards for a little fun. I figured out that the pumping is what makes my arms sore, rather than paddling. That explains why kayaking on Friday didn’t do me in.

On our travels this week, The Mister and I have talked a lot about wishes for the boat. He mentioned replacing the counter tops with granite and installing sweep sinks (inset sinks where you can push water and debris straight into the sink without that pesky lip in the way). I am all for both of those. Then he mentioned magnetic knife holders. !!!

I was thinking that with the way the boat moves, magnetic wouldn’t be strong enough to hold items without them falling if we went sailing.  Who wants knives and spices caroming around while you’re sailing? Not me. However, the Mister says that Raven will not be rocking as wildly as Serenity does when she’s heeled over or we’re in some weather. He thinks that magnets will work great. !!!

So, I’m rethinking my spice storage strategy. There’s a blank wall in the galley that would be great for mounting both knifes and spices on a magnetic strip or square and then I can use stainless instead of plastic.

 

Place to mount knife and spice holders.

Knife storage example

This is one spice option I’m considering

 

I will want to see these options in person, in order to evaluate size of the container and strength of the magnet. The knife bar is easy–Ikea. I could even get several of those to use with the spice tins, but that could lead to not being able to pry them off when I wanted to use them. Most of the magnetic spice storage sets come with a regular metal sheet and the magnet is glued to the tin. I’d also like to get empty tins, rather than a set that comes with spices. I have plenty of spices, and usually like to buy them as I need them (thus all the little bags in my drawer currently).

In the sailing realm, I’m trying two new apps that I’m hoping will help me remember terms and rules: Sailing Flashcards and Sailing Right of Way. As expected, there are not a lot of apps out there for sailing instruction. I’ve started using Sailing Flashcards, but it is not very complex, either in function or the diagrams used. Cons: In the 2D drawings it can be hard to figure out what part of the boat they are pointing at for identification and the order of the cards doesn’t change each time you start the app, so you always answer the same ones first. Pros: I’m getting more exposure to the terms than I would otherwise and repetition is making it easier to remember them. Once I’ve started Sailing Right of Way, I’ll give some feedback on that one as well.

I think I’ve always struggled a little bit with this blog because I don’t have a sharp focus for the content. That’s probably not going to get any better. However, I have a new subject that I’d like to add in, which is pretty far off from my norm.  I may lose readers (ha! I’d have to have more than 5 to be too worried about that).

The Mister has purchased a sailboat. Yes, I know he already had one. That one will go up for sale and we will eventually move onto this new one. Just for you trolls out there, I will disclose that I have nothing to do financially with the purchase of this or the previous vessel. However, I will be moving onto it and paying part of the mortgage/moorage, so I’ll have a fair investment into how we outfit her. There are a few luxuries that I don’t want to give up, like ceramic coffee mugs, that will require some innovative storage solutions to make sure they don’t break while we are sailing.

It will be 8-10 months before we make the move, so I have some time to figure these things out. While I don’t want to buy a bunch of duplicates in order to test these solutions out, I do want to make sure I get the best thing I can for each situation. So, to keep track of my efforts and research, I’ll be using some of my blog posts to document the process of outfitting our beautiful new home.

Her name is Raven, and I’ll tell you all about her in my next boat related post.