Archives for category: – Trip: Sailing the Pacific Northwest

onthehard
Last Friday we had our boat, Carmana, hauled out at Canal Boatyard in Seattle for some upgrades and repair work. We had a new chartplotter/display fitted so we can see where we’re going—I navigated by a little, hand-held GPS on the way down from Canada. The new display meant getting a new transducer. The new transducer meant a larger hole through the hull. And that meant hauling her out.

It’s amazing the amount of work a boat takes. Of course, everyone tells you that before you buy one. It’s funny—some people, when we said we’d bought a boat said, “Congratulations!”. Others said, “Uhh, oh…”

We scrubbed the water tanks, installed new LED lights, oiled the interior teak, and had the propane system inspected—a new regulator and propane sniffer are on the way. We put a grill on the stern rail, a house warming gift from my parents. We got bigger fenders. We’re putting an LED anchor light at the top of the mast to save on battery power, since the anchor light stays on all night when we anchor. We had the battery charger replaced so that we can charge the batteries from shore power. Natalie shined up the brass light fixtures in the cabin with lemon and vinegar. They look like new! I installed a water filter and fixed a leak in the water line. It took weeks just to track down the right fittings. We cut vents into the hanging lockers so they won’t smell musty. I replaced the pump for the head and got a new toilet seat. That looks new as well. Natalie even sewed a grill and winches covers by hand, with an awl. There are lots of little things too, zincs that need to be replaced and hatches that need latches.

We’re itching to get going though. We’re itching to get out into the San Juan Islands and pull into little coves, drop our anchor—we’ve got two to choose from now—prop our feet up in the cockpit or row Carmanita, our little dingy, to shore. We’re itching to get out and live…

That said, seeing the neighborhoods of Ballard and Fremont has been nice. Our endless runs to Fisheries Supply reveal new little coffee houses and taquerias almost every day. This is living too. Every day seems like two. We spend the mornings driving around for parts and the afternoons and evenings installing them. We’re living in the boatyard at the moment, so showers are few and far between and we don’t have running water. We have baby wipes and Crystal Geyser by the gallon. Our days are full and our lifestyle is lean.

We’re looking forward to heading out. This Friday we launch from the yard and head down the canal to Yacht Masters on Lake Union for some rigging work. Sunday is Natalie’s birthday and Monday we’ll head back down the canal, through the opening drawbridges, through the gates of the lock, on to Puget Sound, and out into the world.

We’ll see you there.

A nice view of the Aurora Bridge

A nice view of the Aurora Bridge

We’ve got the boat on the hard at the moment at Canal Boatyard in Seattle. While we’ve been pretty busy with boat projects, we did manage to take a walk the other evening on the Burke-Gilman Trail, a bike and cycle path that runs alongside the Lake Washington Ship Canal to Lake Union and on to northern tip of Lake Washington, where it ends. We took it as far as Gas Works Park on Lake Union.

Here are some photos. Read the rest of this entry »

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About a month ago, we bought a mid-sized sailboat, an Aloha 32 named Carmana and sailed her down from Friday Harbor to Seattle for our first shake-down cruise. We’ve been moored here for the last couple of weeks, hanging out in Ballard (Seattle’s version of Brooklyn), and getting to know the local marine suppliers as we address mechanical, safety, and comfort issues before we head out again: a new chart plotter, battery charger, a new pump for the head, some stuff to keep the holding tank from smelling (Go Noflex Digester! That stuff works.) new fenders, stern anchor… You get the idea.

Despite all of the little projects, we’re really happy with the boat. She’s roomy for a 32-footer, sails well, and gets admiring looks up and down the dock. And she makes a good home for Natalie and I.

That’s the quick low down on the boat. We’ll be up here exploring all summer and give you the low down on the places we visit. Also, if you’d like to read and see pictures of our trip in more detail, Natalie’s blogging about it over at her site, The West County Bramble. Check it out!

OK, here’s the low down. For in-depth low down, we’ve been using the Waggoner Cruising Guide. Not only does it cover everything about every harbor we’ll ever visit, it’s a primer on Northwest cruising. I wished I’d bought it before I even bought the boat as it would have informed some of my choices.

Here’s our take on things though. Every town has been cuter, cooler, and more scenic than the last.
Read the rest of this entry »

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We’re up on Vancouver Island on the west coast of British Columbia. Monday, after months of planning, we left the Bay Area, our truck loaded with supplies for our months-long sailing trip, en route to meet a boat we’d never seen, except for its online profile.

After several trips up north and still no boat, we found an an Aloha 32, a well-regarded, Mark Ellis-designed, cruising boat named Carmana, on Vancouver Island. In mid-May we decided to make an offer.

Shortly thereafter we hired a surveyor to assess the boat. We waited a bit anxiously for the day of the survey. When that day came, however, the surveyor pronounced her a well-found little ship. All systems were go.

The Saturday before we left we had a little grilled pizza bon voyage party with friends. When I dropped off ice for the party, though, and tried to repark the truck… nothing. The starter, that had been acting up, had decided to pack it in. We were meant to leave in two days and it was Memorial Day weekend. Read the rest of this entry »

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We’ve been looking for a boat for our Pacific Northwest trip and spotted this one for ourselves. We put in an offer on it last week. Traveling up to the Pacific NW four times since last fall, looking for a boat to call our own was getting expensive. We saw this boat online and made an offer. We haven’t even seen it in person.

It’s an Aloha 32, a Mark Ellis design that’s similar to the Niagara 35, a capable boat that was, alas, out of our budget. Both are well-built, spacious, and do away with the ubiquitous v-berth to make room for more galley and salon space. (The berths in these boats are aft.) From what we hear, the boat does have some delamination issues in the deck. Whether they are major or minor issues, the survey will reveal.

We’re leaving to head up north in about a week, boat or no boat. I hope this one passes it’s survey. If not, at least we’ll be up there to continue our search. Good luck, Carmana!

 

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We were up in Seattle searching for a boat a couple of weeks ago. We’ve been seriously looking since fall of last year for our upcoming Pacific Northwest trip this summer and fall. We saw several from Tacoma, Washington all the way up to Campbell River, BC. Read the rest of this entry »