Four Facebook Groups have my posts; S V Pinga will be getting a new prop; And more…

There are 4 interesting Facebook groups that I post to:  Ranger Yachts R29 Sailboats, Ranger Sailboats, Women Who Sail (and power cruise) Pacific NW, and the group Women Who Sail. None of these existed when I started my blog. One reason that I started the blog was so I would know how to do it. Folks ask me questions about things like WordPress,  Facebook, etc., because it seems to them that a software engineer should know all about these tools. I know more about designing them than using them. So it has been a wonderful experiment, which is winding down. The 4 Facebook groups are getting my posts, photos, and comments now, so I hope you will stay tuned but on these new channels. Okay, here’s just one recent photo: I liked the self-tailing primary winches so much that now I’ve replaced the main halyard winch also. Shines, doesn’t it? The exciting news for 2020 will be the Big Spring  Haulout, which means I will be pulling / replacing the drive train from coupler through prop.


Lewmar EVO Self-Tailing      2-Blade Shaft Folding Propeller  Flexofold folding prop.

Using a Digital Sound Recorder for verbal Instructions

There is now a little box mounted near Pinga’s toilet: Push the little red button and you will hear my little scratchy voice offering instructions about how to use the marine toilet.
I purchased a Radio Shack 9v digital voice recording module and looked for a fun way to make use of it. It records and stores up to 20 seconds of sound and plays it back at the touch of a button. I mounted the module in a little black Radio Shack project box, drilled out some sound holes and rigged a push-button that extends down to the button on the circuit board. I tore apart all sorts of small household objects (ballpoint pens, etc.) looking for the right rubber boot and springy-like part to make this push-button.
Now there is no need for me to include the “toilet talk” in my boat orientation speech. Yes, I do that with every new guest that comes out sailing on S V Pinga.

Radio Shack 9v digital voice recorder with playback.

Radio Shack 9v digital voice recorder with playback.

Things I liked at the Seattle Boat Show, Women’s Day, Feb 1 2016

• New 2016 Sunbrella fabrics include several possibilities for S V Pinga. Jockey Red has been a cheerful color, and matches her cove and boot stripe color. But I’ll make a change when I make the next round of covers.
• The Rule / Jabsco product line includes a new low-profile automatic bilge pump.
• free Tide booklets, the complete program guide for the Northwest Maritime Center, and the “hints and advice on rigging and tuning of your Selden mast” booklet (it is full of information for any rigging.)
• Keltech plastic innovative solutions (Tacoma)… really is a custom plastic fabricator… something to know about, although it was hard to tell from the booth what they do!
• gave out a discount coupon, and I had free boat show tickets courtesy of Seaview boatyard.
• Emarine Electric Marine Propulsion, Seattle Boat Works, dealer. Learned about batteries: Northstar lead or new OASIS carbon foam AGM batteries.
• I attended Northwest Women in Boating seminar to SBUX_view_ferry.JPGhear the stories and sit in a room full of women captains and cruisers. A wonderful thing to do.
•Seattle: I went a day early and enjoyed a night at the Stadium Silver Cloud Inn. There are great views from the pool area on the rooftop, and friendly staff. Even better views for my morning coffee: Starbucks on the 40th floor of the Columbia Tower. I visited the new Filson store, explored the Living Computer Museum nearby, and ate Italian plum tart at the Macrina Bakery.
• Yummy treats for Boat Show Women’s Day include fish tacos at El Camion Mexican food truck. We had a delicious dinner at Tampico Mexican Restaurant in Everett, on the way home.

Practical holiday gifts, for S V Pinga and me

Looking for a practical holiday gift for a fellow boat-owner? Try a set of silicon lids that “stick” to the tops of pans or bowls.

soft Silicon lids

It is important to use a lid when cooking on a boat stove. I improved my galley with the new silicone and “squish” collapsibles, but also these flat round lids. While pots and pans nest nicely, the lids slide around and take up more room, so just take those  metal or glass lids home. Save the weight for this cool little tool: mini right-angle ratcheting screwdriver, useful when keeping control of a small screw going into a terminal block.

mini right-angle driver

Our entire cooking set fits inside the oven, tableware fits entirely in one “cubby” area, and bowls entirely fit inside the microwave. I like it all enclosed, clean and quiet, so there’s no clanking noise when the boat gets tossed a bit. Noises make the boat’s movement seem so much more dire to your guests aboard, clanking pan lids, slapping halyards… you know it is true.


We attend the South Sound Women’s Boating Seminar

Mary Ross and I went to the South Sound Women’s Boating Seminar in Olympia,  a friendly and interesting town with a lively downtown area. It is as far south on the Sound as you can sail. We arrived at our hotel the evening before and I left Mary to work on her seminar presentation. I strolled through the lovely downtown and found it was “Girls Night Out”.  This fundraiser event was only coincidentally held the night before the Women’s Boating Seminar, how fitting. I enjoyed the free cupcakes, cocktails, candies, and such while checking out the galleries, boutiques, and cafes. Very fun and something I wouldn’t otherwise do.

Every year this seminar brings together the most awesome women boaters and those eager to learn from them. It is wonderful just to share the room with them. I am an attentive boat-mom, yet I learned of several things to add to my “boat list”. Yiks! My highlights of the day were winning the raffled Helly Hansen sailing outfit, and crewing during the repositioning of Capt. Mary Fitzgerald’s Newport 30.

Mary Ross is a great sailor and inspiring sailing mentor and it was delightful to share the weekend with her. Mary’s presentation took us through a process for safety thoughtfulness and “what if” discussions.  We organized a plan for preventing problems and practicing safety skills. I now have a personalized list of topics to research, including how to fix damage holes and what to do about the through-hull that I am unable to reach.
My annual favorite presenter is Alison Mazon, an amazing yet practical mechanic and boat surveyor. She brought more of her “hall of shame” failed parts and her delightful dry humor, and explained how to examine one’s boat for signs of future failures, leaks, or problems. She shares the real failures found on boats she has inspected, often for insurance claims. Alison reminds us to just “go spelunking”; forget checklists. I am always impressed by the range and depth of her expertise.
Here are some notes from her presentation:
• Another place to look: the back of our shorepower connector.
• Put a date label on your hoses! Hoses last only 5 – 10 years, not forever. Showing rings?
• See a brown trail tell-tale under a hose outlet? Spray powder or “leak trace”.
• Inspect also sink drain hoses, look for mixer elbow fatigue, activated stainless steel?
• Checkvalves vs. backflow. Maintenance is required on checkvalves and they can fail.
• Shaft, keel bolts, through-hulls, chain plates; have you seen your Rudder Post? (Ah… no.)
• Often trouble results from multiple failures working together!
• Chafe of one thing on another is often a source of a failure! Look for touching parts.
• Double clamp exhaust. All clamps are without holes, non-magnetic, rolled threads and edges.
• Have no connections along the route of a propane hose. (Good advice for wires too!)
• If you see black dust it is from the alternator belt.
• Route wires along a fiberglass hull: Epoxy a wooden block on, then screw the mounts in that!
• Make clay dam and sprinkle colored Kool-aid to find source of leaks.
• 3M 5200 is just fine for sealant and ok to use. There is also a product to remove it.
• Yes, Gas engine parts must be Marine only, for ignition protection UL1500.
• Use your hands to feel what you can’t see and use the camera. Can you reach it? Pull on it!
• Air circulation is important to prevent condensation that causes green alloys.
• Milwaukee rechargeable tool from Home Depot are o.k.

Gary Mull designed some really nice boats.

To begin the season with gusto, I went out on three boats in one week: I enjoyed first-of-the-season Bay sails on S V Pinga and Kathie’s S V Selah. For the first CYC race night, I joined the charming crew of Jacqui’s Freedom 30, S V Piper. She has the same designer as my boat, Gary Mull, but a very different design from Pinga’s – elegant yet still roomy, no spreaders or shrouds, high freeboard.

I also grabbed a short ride on Captain Mary Fitzgerald’s Newport 30 in Olympia. This is another Gary Mull – designed boat. My ride was the repositioning cruise from her home slip in the marina over to the fairway dock, where she was the Lifesling demo boat for the Women’s Boating Seminar. May 16th. was the sixth annual seminar, presented by the South Sound Sailing Society and Olympia Yacht Club. I’ll be back later with a few notes from that seminar.

For now, here is a note from boat designer Gary Mull:garymull_challenge When asked what kind of parameters he used when designing “just a really nice boat,” he said, “It has to be good looking, and it has to sail well. It has to have good balance, and it has to have an airy, bright, pleasant interior so you don’t feel like you are going to jail when you go down below. It’s got to have a comfortable cockpit where you can work the boat without bashing your elbows or tipping over or whatever. It’s a boat that, if you want to cruise it for a while, you can do it by simply loading aboard the stores and some clothes, and just do it. If you want to race it, you can do that by off-loading some of the stores and gear and going racing.”


S V Pinga uncovered and the boating season begins.

I did not try any winter sailing this year; the boat waited patiently under a big cover. I love this very busy time of the year when the cover comes off and every day is spent putting S V Pinga in good order. Many things come out of storage and return to their place on the boat. Elaborate cleaning treatments are done to water tank, toilet, decks, sail tracks, and more. I especially like handling the hardware and lines, and checking it all for fair leads.

I inspected and cleaned the engine, changed oil, and replaced spark plugs. I tightened a loose bolt on the very back of the engine block but I have no idea what it does; I like to think I’ve prevented some disaster. The stern and steaming navigation lights have become faint from aging wires and lenses. I have replaced those wires and fixtures, rerouting the circuit and relocating a hidden terminal block. I’ll need a rigger to go aloft to replace the missing halyard restrainer, which greatly eases genoa furling.VSC2015 2


Pinga now has the 2015 Vessel Safety Check sticker on the mast. I have this done by the Bellingham Sail & Power Squadron inspectors every year on Opening Day, after champagne breakfast at the yacht club, a stroll through the parking-lot swap meet, and receiving the Blessing of the Fleet.

tuner_ptfig2My swap meet goodie this year is a Loos tension guage, for setting tension in wire rigging. Here’s a photo of one:


A pretty panel to organize charging plugs and more…

Here is a photo of my new bulkhead panel, placed in the space that was the TP roll holder, under the Vberth.  This organizes USB charging, a voltmeter, and a  SensaTank II Levels Monitor. The time has come to place USB plugs in our boats and our homes: devices such as handheld VHF and anchor lights are now available that have USB recharging ports.

The round plugs and meter are waterproof and designed for motorcycle installation, so I also replaced the wires and connectors “marine style”.


Matthew Walker, Star button knots in “lanyard” towel hangers.


I made several towel holders to use up the last of a large spool of cheap white cord. Also a T.P. hanger and a dog leash for MIlo! They are based on the “fancy knife lanyard” design from the Brion Toss book Rigger’s Apprentice. I’m removing the boat’s old chrome T.P. holder so I can reclaim the space – the holder’s hole in the teak bulkhead is now hosting a new instrument panel. It holds the SensaTank II tank level sensor display, a voltmeter, an accessory plug, a dual usb plug and a led light dimmer.

The matching white lanyard hangers look great in the head. It includes a star button knot and several of the most wonderful 6-strand Mathew Walker knot, which is my very favorite. It takes a lot grooming after it is completed: you must press, pull, and roll it into the perfect shape. Very handsome. Thanks, Brion!

My Review of Siren Marine Pixie and Sprite Accessories

Originally submitted at Jamestown Distributors

Siren Marine offers a full line of accessories to enhance your boat monitoring experience with the Siren Pixie or Sprite. Monitor shore power consumption, shore power current, on-board temperature, bilge water level, removal of a canvas cover, and motion on board from your smartphone. Please see te…

Reliable, complete, for peace of mind.

By SVPinga from Bellingham, WA on 1/3/2015
5out of 5

Pros: Inexpensive, Customizable, Great Customer Service

Cons: Depends On Cell Reception

Best Uses: Dog In Boat Temp Ok, Any Beloved Boat

Was this a gift?: No

This is a wonderful set of features and completely reliable monitoring system for a great price. I do a lot of research: nothing else made for, or priced for, the average cruising ol’ sailboat. Bonus is the extra friendly and prompt customer service. A great company to work supporting DIY install.


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