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Capt. Mike, who is a long time friend of Doe Bay, has been given permission to take 6 passengers to Doe Bay for Doe Bay Fest 2013, Aug 8 – 11. I have put together a package with includes, transportation, food, lodging, and tickets for 6 persons for 2500.00. The Armadillo can provide three double bunks, so three couples can be aboard. I can take fewer people but the price remains the same. We will be leaving Seattle from Harbor Island Marina early in the morning on August 7. It takes between 13 to 18 hours to get to Doe Bay. The plan is to arrive sometime on the 8th. We will anchor in Doe Bay and transport to shore via dinghy. Each night you will be staying on the Armadillo in the Bay. We will leave for Seattle again on the evening of the 11th and arrive sometime on the 12th back at Harbor Island unless the entire crew decides to stay in the San Juans for a few more days, which we can definitely do. /

I think this is going to be the adventure of a lifetime. I have been to Doe Bay in the past aboard the Armadillo and it was a blast. I am so glad that Joe Brotherton has given me this opportunity. I suspect that this opportunity is going to sell very quickly. If you are musicians then bring your gear and we can jam. Capt. Mike always has his guitar handy.

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Have you heard of Airbnb.com? If you are traveling any place in the world you may be able to find an intriguing place to stay through this web site. Many people have chosen to stay aboard the Armadillo using Airbnb. Just look for the Puget sound sailing adventure.

So the time begins to plan the next step in Armadillo’s ocean adventures.  Next April I would like to take her north to Alaska . The plan is to leave in late April and take three weeks to make Ketchikan.  We will be taking passengers to help pay the way. People who want to join us for some leg of the journey are also welcome. Once in Alaska I hope to spend about a month in Southeast  perhaps going as far north as Jeauno then returning back to Seattle. this should be a good test of the mechanical and electrical systems on board.

I also hope to play music in various venues in Alaska and maybe establish a future tour route for Blue Melange.

Recently I was gifted a Picostation2-hp  by a good friend.  The Picostation2-hp is made by Ubiquti and it’s main purpose is to serve as a wireless access point but it can perform many different useful roles.  In my case I was looking for a powerful wireless card for my on board computer.  The Picostation can be setup in station mode which allows it to search for and attach to wireless sources at quite a distance so it was perfect for my needs.  Ubiquiti also has a product called the bullet which is specifically designed as a wi-fi station but the Picostation is much more versitile and can be configured as an access point as well.  You could use the Picostation  to provide wireless access to all your friends at the marina if you were so inclined.  Configuration was fairly simple and I immediately found over 7 signals in my area which were strong enough for a solid connection.  Of course, you will find that most of them have password protection so you will need the owners permission and password info to connect.  In most marinas where complimentary wireless is offered you will be able to connect right at your slip.

I would recommend this device to anyone who wishes a strong shipboard wi-fi connection.

A lot of projects are being attended to during the winter months.  One task which i recently completed is to run the switches for my  lights back to the wheel house.  Now I can switch on my Nav lights, Spreader lights, and Anchor lights all from a panel located near the helm.  Before I always had to yell out the crew to turn them on.  I also came across a set of solar panels which have added an additional 75 watts of power to my existing array.  I bought a Balmar alternator regulator last year and I finally completed hooking it up.  The new regulator will run my alternator more efficiently and allow me to charge all my house battery banks.

I have wanted to install a dedicated chartplotter aboard for some time but I don’t have a 1000 dollars to spend on on a brand new system.  A little research revealed that I could accomplish quite a bit with an old computer and my existing Garmin GPS.  I have a spare desktop computer running windows 2000 and I was able to download Seaclear II for free and NOAA charts for free .  To make my Garmin GPS talk to the desktop I needed to download a free program called spanner with converts native Garmin GPS data into NMEA which Seaclear  can understand.  My initial test last night went over very well.  I also have a wireless card in the desktop and I plan on getting an enhanced antenna to increase my range.   With the addition of other NMEA compatable equipment I can use Seaclear to recieve Wind data, depth data, and AIS.  I will even be incorporating an autopilot eventually.

The bonus to this system is I can put all my music on the hardrive and send it to my stereo for playback.

My existing armadillo signs port and starboard are quite aged and in need of some care so I replaced the lettering with white opal glass lettering.  The process is similar to making a stain glass window.  I simply render new glass piece by piece assisted by a diamond glass grinder.  I will provide pictures when it is complete.  Speaking of stained glass I am making new panels for my galley windows with a nautical theme.

I am looking forward to a trip to Brownsville this coming March 10 and 11.

 

The original hanks on my inner jib  were plastic.  I wanted to replace them with stronger bronze hanks and I used the opportunity to sew in new grommets.  My sail repair class suggested that sew on hanks or better than bang on hanks because sew on hanks are reusable, repairable, and bound to the sail more firmly so less chaffing.  Here is a picture of the original plastic hank.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The plastic hank was removed. and a grommet hole was punched.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A grommet is sewn around a ring made from single conductor electrical wire.  A welded bronze ring is a better choice  but wire is what I had and it will be strong enough for this purpose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The completed grommet looks like this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The rust stains were caused by the screws used to hold the original plastic hanks in place.  The rust was just one more reason to replace the plastic hanks.  The next step is to sew a leather chafe guard into the grommet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally, the hank is sewn in.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Because the hank is sewn in so tight it will not move and thus won’t chafe the sail.  The grommet makes a strong positive connection between the hank and the sail.  This hank and sail connection will last for many years and once it eventually breaks down it will be easy to simply resew the hank in again.  Hanks can be expensive.  I was lucky to find a bag of eleven used hanks at a local marine store.  Used hanks can be encrusted with corrosion but they are easy to clean.  just soak them in white vinager for an hour and they will be good as new.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sail repair is time consuming and I spent over 12 hours making grommets and sewing on hanks but the results are a better more durable sail that I can trust in strong winds.  I would like to thank the book  “The Sail Makers Apprentice” and the sail repair class conducted by Carol Hasse of  Hasse and Company Port Townsend Sails, Inc.  I would highly recommend this class to anyone who is going to make long journeys in sailboats.

During a recent charter my guests had a wonderful recommendation for me. They said that I should make my sailboat available as a sailing bed and breakfast on AirBNB. This would allow me to provide accommodations to anyone who was interested in a sailing adventure. So, imagine if you will, coming to Seattle from out of town and driving to your floating abode. Captain Mike meets you and shows you how things work aboard but you want more. You want to go spend the night in a secluded cove somewhere on Puget Sound or you want to visit the San Juan islands. Well this is no problem as we are in a mobile hotel room. You just need to select the particular waterfront you wish to enjoy for the evening and we can take you there. On the other hand, maybe you want to stay right here on Harbor Island where you are close to downtown shopping and attractions. Armadillo is now registered and ready for overnight stays. At 225 a night it is a pretty good deal.

Right now it the perfect time to be making improvements to the Armadillo.  Of things that need to be attended to is some new wiring.  I would like to be able to control all the lights right from the cockpit.  Several interior lights need to be upgraded to LED.  I need to complete installation of my new alternator regulator.  I would like to make a platform in the wheelhouse for my laptop/navigation system.  The horn switch is broken. My VHF power isn’t always reliable.  From a safety standpoint I need to replace some expired flares and refill an expired fire extinguisher.  The interior needs some varnish and some of the ceiling tiles are loose or need to be replaced.   The hull could use a haul out and painting but i need to raise some funds for that to take place.  I just replaced the old sail covers with new ones.  The Daisys are printed because the material I used to make the sail cover out of is actually a giant photo by the artist Spike Mafford.  While hanging outside of Francine Seders Gallary the photo printed on a large vinyl tarp was damaged an so I was allowed to use it for my project.  Thanks Spike for the effective recycling of your artwork.

New Mainsail cover

Christmas lights on Boats

The Armadillo often participates in events with the Puget Sound Sailing Group which can be found on Meetup.com. This weekend we participated in the Emerald City Yacht Club annual Christmas Parade of Lights from Lake Union to Kirkland. This event has occurred in the Seattle area since before WWII. This year 9 boats from the PSSG participated and provided a visual delight to the many people gathered around the lakes. It was truely a wonder to behold as every boat tried to out do the others in design, number of lights, and raw power consumption. After the event many of us spent the night in Kirkland and had brunch at Anthony’s Homeport the next morning. It is heartening to see adventurous sailors braving the cold winter night often from open cockpits to parade like peacocks across the water. Fortunately, the captain and crew of the Armadillo were quite comfortable in the covered heated wheelhouse observing the brilliance around us.
Cheers and happy Holidays

On a trip to Anderson Island this summer we experienced several events which I will remember for a long time. The weather was a little cloudy with the sun peaking through periodically. Not a lot of wind to speak of which is a bane to the sailor but we motored ahead dispite mother natures lack of co-operation. Once we anchored we waited for other members of the Puget Sound Cruising Club to join us. Soon a beautiful ketch similar to our boat made its way in our direction. The Emerald Lady rafted up with us for the night and that is when we first met Captain John and Kelly Wannamaker and guests. Here was a group of sailors which shared with us a common set of hopes and dreams. in addition, they really enjoyed our music and have become big fans of Blue Melange.

The second beautiful thing about this trip was on the way home we were escorted by Dall’s Porpose. I have included a video.