General crap

I’m a bad bad blogger. Weeks ago I teased ya’ll with some potential ‘big news’ and then dropped the ball. What really happened was the deal took a little longer to gel than originally thought (isn’t that always the way?), then deadline was upon me. After deadline, we try to spend as little time as possible in the office and my home computer is just too slow to blog efficiently. So I let you hang. Sorry!

Here’s Part One of The Big News:


Yup, Tess is officially now the property of Art. After just 6 days in the “Too Late to Classify” section of Latitude 38‘s Classy Classifieds, she’s gone. We had four or five people email or call — far more than we expected for the whole month! Two guys came down on Sunday and didn’t seem too fazed at the prep work for the deck painting (we’d stripped and faired the cabin top, and had begun sanding) but neither made offers.

Yesterday morning, Art called to say he wanted to buy the boat even though he hadn’t seen it. He actually was pleased at all the prep work, could see her painted and was thrilled that we offered to knock off $$ if he took her as is where is, saving us the trouble of painting. He whipped out a wad of cash and the deal was done. The other two guys were really bummed when they called to buy her within 10 minutes of each other last night.

In reality, selling Tess was Part Two of The Big News because Part One was this:


Feolena is a classic Valiant 32 that is far more ready to do the Singlehanded Transpac than Tess. I wasn’t worried about the boat doing the race — I knew she could handle it — but I did have two specific concerns that Feolena solves:

  1. Rob’s back. He doesn’t have the best back, though it’s not really bad. I was worried that his 6’4″ frame would be hunched so much for the at-least-two months of the race and trip back that it would cause permanent damage.
  2. Radar, or lack thereof. We weren’t planning on radar for Tess as they would really only need it (potentially) for the first few days of the race. It gets awfully foggy on the coast in the summer. But those were the days that concerned me the most because they’re also the days he’d be right in the shipping lanes. Feolena has radar, chartplotter, Monitor windvane, etc., etc.

While we’re sad to let go of Tess — we spent a lot of time and muscle perking her up — we’re also excited to get Feolena ready (a far less daunting task, even as far along as we were with Tess). I don’t know if I’ll blog about her or not but I’ll leave this up for the time being as a reference to other Contessa owners. She really is a sweet little boat — we’ll miss her!


A busy summer — a trip to Oregon for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary, visitors galore and all sorts of summer fun — have kept us from Tess for awhile. We’d been planning on a run down to Half Moon Bay this weekend but the dense fog we woke up to on Friday said “Nay!”

So we adjusted our plans and sailed up to China Camp. The new (very old but new to the boat) jib makes a WORLD of difference in sailing ability. So I guess I wasn’t so wrong after all — it really was the sails!

We anchored fairly close in because we (read: Rob) would be rowing ashore against wind and tide. Shortly after setting anchor, another little boat tried anchoring right on top of us. We sat in the cockpit, watching and waiting. They knew they were too close but were obviously loathe to admit it. Good sense (and undoubtedly visions of higher insurance premiums) prevailed and they reanchored. They were still stupidly close for such a big anchorage but at least we weren’t going to play bumper boats.

Strange and uncomfortable swell started rolling in later in the afternoon — strange because the wind direction was coming from the SW and the swell from the E. It lasted a few hours, long enough to drive off a couple other boats, but it settled down after sunset.

Sleeping on Tess is not the most comfortable proposition. I think my limit is one night, though Rob hopes to take longer trips. Not me. I like the comfort of Silent Sun. I have everything I need at my fingertips — no lugging back and forth — and I get a good night’s sleep in a comfy bed. But I can ‘go camping’ every now and again. Plus, she’s fun to sail!


Life has been insanely crazy for the past month. Mostly engulfed by deadline and a trip to Oregon for my parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. It was great fun but PHWEW! Soooo glad it’s done.

Last month, Rob and I spent a couple days fitting our ‘new’ Monitor windvane on Tess. Rob managed to get the body set up with halyards while I was at work.

When I got there, we read and re-read the instructions and set to work. We tweaked, tugged, eyeballed, measured, tweaked some more and finally got the beast level. Measure twice, cut once. We probably should have measured a third time. We installed the first arm, then readjusted everything to relevel and attach the second arm.

Hmmm. Something’s not quite right. We have no idea how it happened but, to get the Monitor level, the second arm had to be installed way out of whack.

That’s frustrating for me because I like linear, orderly installations. (One time Rob played a joke on me by randomly rearranging my bookshelf. No longer did the books go from tall to short and I had to fix them immediately — not that I have OCD or anything . . .)

Our next challenge was the outboard bracket. Wild tangent: remember how we really needed a longshaft outboard because the motor kept popping out of the water whenever there was a teensy bit of chop or wake? We took a little Nissan we picked up at a swap meet for next to nothing to the local Nissan repair guy. He rebuilt the motor (the previous owner had stored the motor upside down with saltwater in it — a bad thing, as it turns out) and ‘Frankensteined’ it. Now we have a nice juicy longshaft!

Anyway, we quickly realized that there would be no way the lower port strut would be at the suggested angle because the outboard is in the way. Luckily, Rob had already received the blessing from the company’s owner Hans. I had no choice but to accept the wonkiness.

Rob took a couple days to play with the lines and leads and all the other goodies, then took Tess out for a little sail. It was a light air day but sunny and beautiful. Coincidentally, my coworker JR was out shooting a race that day so he snapped a few of Rob.

“That Monitor is magic!” Rob still has a smile on his face!

I have no clue what was going on yesterday but here are the pix I tried to post. The first was close to the beginning of the race when Sutter, our race editor, went by in the photo boat. We sucked in our tummies, showed our good sides and smiled for the birdie.


Yes, I know the jib looks like shit. My bad. I raised it and didn’t get it tight enough — Rob fixed it later. I’m just a frail little woman that can’t raise a sail, apparently. Wimpy jello arms. Gotta work on that.

After shooting a jillion boat, Sutter came by again a couple hours later. Though the jib looks better, we weren’t much farther along than when she went by the first time.


And just look how high cut that clew is! There’s no two ways around it, we need a bigger headsail. Rob said “You can’t blame the sails for how badly we’re doing.” Uh, hello! It’s my birthday and I can do whatever I want! Damn straight it was the sails. Heh hem.

And finally, Kim sent us a few shots of us leaving China Camp (after getting pushed off the mud!). She may be a slug, but she sure is purty.


We checked the schedule and we don’t have another race for awhile. We will be in Brownsville celebrating my folks 50th wedding anniversary on June 2, the date of the Delta Ditch Run AND the In the Bay Race (both of which we would have like to have done). After that is the LongPac (the qualifier for the SH Transpac next year) but Rob’s son Ian will be in town.

This lag in racing gives us plenty of time to finish a bunch of stuff – stripping and painting the decks, repainting the hull, mounting the Monitor, setting up the interior, replacing the rigging (though that may wait till winter), etc. No rest for the wicked . . .

Most blogging sites allow you to see what terms folks type into search engines to find your site. This is my favorite so far: “pretty little holes”. What, exactly was this person looking for? I’m just guessing it wasn’t a pic of this


or this


or this


but probably something closer to this


Go figger.

PS: Aaron’s baaaaack!

Short post today as our electricity is going out in about 10 minutes for some major wiring updates. The West Marine Oakland Bargain Center — where WM ships all their returned stuff — is closing for good. Sunday we took advantage of their 50% off sale for some Tess junk.  Just look at this pile of crap! But we had fun and and hardly spent anything.


We went back yesterday to get something for a friend and it was all 75% off! Picked up some more junk but no photos. GPS for $40, fishfinder for $10, some hardware for next to nothing, Schaefer furler (no extrusion) for pennies on the dollar . . .

The irony is that I hate shopping for clothes, etc., but get me in that Bargain Center and watch out! We’re very sad it’s closing — I think I’ll write a letter!

Our good friend Aaron came for a visit the other day. This boy knows how to work and we put him to it! I’m on deadline so wasn’t there to snap any shots but I got a full report. Even with going out to breakfast, lunch and visiting with friends for most of the day, the boys were able to rebed BOTH sail tracks, another stanchion (better them than me!) and one of the rope clutches on the deck. Believe me, that’s a LOT. The sail track was apparently the easiest since we cut away the liner to access the nuts. They’d never been rebed so there was no silicone to clean up.


They took yesterday off to go sailing (while I worked) but will be getting back at it today. Aaron is a great glass man and really knows how to finish stuff. I’ll feed him lobster and steak every day if he can make some progress!

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