Hanalei is fun, SHTP racers are arriving

Beetle has been happily riding at anchor in Hanalei now for the week, the holding is excellent – thick mud and sand – and there are fewer boats here than I would have thought though there are permanent moorings in place for the commercial boats; those moorings weren’t here that I recall from 2006 (last time I was here).

In Nawiliwili you get to enjoy sunrises; around this side of the island you get to enjoy sunsets, especially as the eastern corner of the bay doesn’t poke out too far north.

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Beetle is hanging out relaxing on the lovely blue waters of the bay. I get to walk up and down the beach when going ashore to visit Race Committee or the grocery store in the center-of-town Ching Young Village, which has the Big Save grocery store.

The anchorage is reasonably rolly, particularly when the trades are up and blowing hard, but everybody is managing to stay stuck to the bottom despite the squalls that roll through and toss the wind around.  The reef extending out in front of the resort protects the anchorage and the standup paddle board folks are out riding the small breakers on the inside of the reef.  If you’re a better standup paddle board person then you’re on the bigger waves on the outside of the reef.  And all the boaters hide inside behind the reef.

The flood damage to Hanalei is still very much in evidence, the road to the paved boat launch ramp has not been worked on yet and it’s missing in three or four places where the water cut through the area and left ten foot deep trenches.  The large houses that were right in the area are still in their fallen-over state, other houses are being worked on or torn down and rebuilt entirely.

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The road to the launch ramp as it is now. The Hanalei river, where the dinghies land, is a short distance behind me as I take the picture. It rained hard in Hanalei in April, the gauge recorded 28″ over 24 hours and then the gauge broke – all that water came sweeping down the valley and over-ran the river bank and flooded out the community.

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Many houses were undermined and the pillar foundations (intended to keep the homes above hurricane-driven ocean water) started to collapse. It’s going to be a long time before everything is put back together. The launch ramp road is directly behind these homes.

As a result of the flooding the river mouth is not used by the commercial boats, as they can not load and unload passengers from the old ramp – can’t drive there.  Instead the boats are using the beach adjacent to the Hanalei Pier  and folks wade out to the boats that have backed in to the beach with the motors lifted; when the boats ground out in the sand one of the crew jumps out, extends a ladder, and folks are helped up onto the boat.  Good thing the surf is low at 1 foot and it’s a steep shelving sand beach so the boats can back in quite close.  It’s a 10 minute walk down the beach to the Hanalei Pavilion park, which is the beach access route that’s gets you between the houses that line the beach.  The number of tourists on Kauai is impressive – 100,000 people per month come in through the airport at Lihue, that 1.2 million per year according to the Hawaii tourist bureau.  And it’s a fair bet that some of those tourist folks make it to Hanalei at the far end of the island (in all fairness, most of them go to the resorts and hotels on the south side of the island – it’s not that particularly crowded in Hanalei proper).  I hope those 100,000 people are also flying out each month, otherwise it would be standing room only on the island.

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The Big Save is the important store in the town of Hanalei – this is where everyone comes to get their groceries. When the flooding happened it was 18″ deep in mud and water, but stayed open so people could get food and water.

The Singlehanded Transpacific race finishes here, and so far three boats have arrived.  Race Committee got in earlier in the week and located their rental house that happens to be directly behind the Pavilion – most convenient for getting down to the chase boat that is sent out to greet each arriving yacht as they cross the finish line located outside the reef.  The chase boat’s job is to take out one or two people that will climb onboard the incoming boat and help the skipper take down the sails and get the anchor ready.  The chase boat is also used as a follow-me boat, especially at night when the skipper is entering an unknown bay and needs to avoid the reefs located on each side.  General cruising approach is to never enter an unknown, unlit, reef-containing bay at night; the chase boat makes it safer for the racer to get in as all they have to do is follow the chase boat around to the anchorage.

First order of business for Race Committee is to get the chase boat setup; turns out that Larry’s Sea Swirl (affectionately referred to as the Sea Squirrel) was all set, launched, and then the somewhat elderly Evinrude 88 HP outboard motor wouldn’t start.  The first finisher was that night, so I was able to help out with Beetle’s dinghy and take Synthia out to greet Philippe as he finished the race on his Olson 30 Double Espresso – first boat in!  I greeted Synthia at 4AM just outside the small surf line at the Pavilion, she waded out to the dinghy and we went out and Philippe as he crossed the line in the pre-dawn glow.  Synthia went on board to help Philippe and I zipped along in front so he could just follow the dinghy rather than worry about avoiding the reefs.

The funny part was inside at the anchorage, Synthia inspected his bow and noticed there weren’t any cleats up there, so asked, “How do you normally anchor?”  and he responded, “I don’t know, I’ve never anchored the boat before.”  That was novel.  We eventually decided to tie the anchor line to the mast with a big bowline, and then used the jib tack hooks as the cleat.  Hopefully that doesn’t pull the stem fitting out of the bow.

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Philippe on his Olson 30 Double Espresso in the bright morning light. That’s the Pavilion directly beyond and to the right of his mast – the Tree is now huge and filled with branches, it is occupying the right side of the frame. Too bad the picnic table was removed from beneath the tree – we’re not sure where to have sunset Tree Time now.

Last night two more boats came in, fortunately the Sea Squirrel’s outboard was professionally serviced and we aren’t depending on Beetle’s little dinghy to charge around in the dark out in the ocean.  Tonight we’re expecting the fourth boat, maybe around midnight or so.  Don on board Crinan II is having complete autopilot meltdown and has been hand-steering his Wylie 30 for several hundred miles, working on 3-4 hours in the cockpit then taking down the sail and drifting for 3-4 hours while he sleeps.  This is not the fast way to get here but both his electric pilots have failed and Crinan II doesn’t have a mechanical windvane backup system.  So he’s slow but will arrive.  I know Don from many years of racing OYRA and SSS in San Francisco, it will be fun to meet up with him again here in Hanalei!

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This is the Olson 30 Passages shortly after finishing the race, following the follow-me Sea Squirrel in to drop the anchor. It’s dark out here, this shot was taken with the Nikon set at a silly ASA 10000 to capture anything in the dark. The boats are being anchored right around Beetle, which is beginning to make Beetle feel like the Mama Goose for the fleet.

The Race Committee’s house is the social gathering point for the fleet, I’ve been going over there around 5pm for pre-Tree time to observe Synthia and Dave work on preparing the approved SSS mai-tai drinks, apparently that involves a fair bit of experimentation and testing.

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Mai Tai’s apparently require lots of attention to prepare properly. Here at Race Central Dave and Jackie look up recipes while Synthia works with the ingredients at hand to see what they can concoct.

So all is going well here, we’re having intermittent sun and squalls with rain, the Kauai Napali coast mountains are right in of the anchorage, I’ve been working on giving Beetle a good bottom scrub and enjoying seeing friends from the racing community again.

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Sunset over the Pacific, a great way to an end a day in a beautiful place.

– rob

 

Arrival in Hanalei Bay, Kauai

Good morning – it’s a somewhat grey and overcast morning here in beautiful Hanalei Bay, on the north side of Kauai.  The wind is a light breeze coming in across the flat areas of Princeville, that breeze drops down to the water as it clears the hillside.  There’s a gentle rolling wrap-around swell at the moment, perhaps 1 foot; anyone that has ever been in Taihoe Bay, Nuku Hiva will find Hanalei to be a wonderful improvement – I sure do.

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Part of leaving Nawiliwili is getting out of the slilp without banging into the concrete pillar set in between the two side-tie slips. This pillar has rusty chain and a couple of old tires hung on it – not something you want to hit. When the wind is light, as in this picture, it’s not too difficult.

I had been waiting in Nawiliwili for a weather window to sail around the island’s NE corner, and yesterday (Saturday) was the good time to go: forecast for 12-14 knots of breeze out of the ENE, swell 2-3′, with 5-6′ wind waves on top of that.  Early Saturday morning Beetle was up and out of the slip, after dropping off the gate key in the harbormaster’s office post box.  I was out even before the USCG station folks got around to their morning ritual of firing up the rescue boat engines, deck cleaning, and testing all the equipment (they do that every morning, including the horns and loud hailer – so nobody in the immediate area sleeps much past 7:30AM).

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A great day to depart Nawiliwili – lots of sun, small puffy tradewind clouds, light breeze. Took a while to get out while bonking into the steep chop, and buried the bow more than a few times while motoring straight into the square waves that were taller than the bow pulpit.

Outside the harbor is a washing machine of reflected wave energy as the tradewinds generate swell and chop that crashes into the rocky coastline – a nasty washing machine that disappears when you get out to the 50 fathom line, a little over a mile outside the harbor.  Breeze filled in nicely and off Beetle went on starboard tack for the short 12 mile hop up to the tip top of the island and then a left turn and run down the northern edge to Hanalei Bay.

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The end of the island is up there, before the big squall on the horizon. Fish boats run around at that point as well, particularly as there’s an FAD off to the right.

There are deep-water anchored FADs (so marked on the chart, Fish Attraction Device) set in 5500′ of water.  I asked one of the commercial charter captains about them and he said they are simply buoys anchored outside, the chain beneath the buoy grows stuff, which attracts small fish, which attract bigger fish, which attract the tuna and marlin he’s after.  Some of the fish coming in off the water are huge – eight foot marlin, a 5′ 200 pound tuna – these are big animals.  Note to self: do not catch a fish that big, I wouldn’t know what to do with it and I certainly couldn’t get it onto the boat.  Clustered around the FADs one can also expect to find lots of 20-40′ fishing boats charging about at 6-8 knots trailing squid and feather lures which skip across the water’s surface.  They’re using 200 pound monofilament line and that stuff is so thick it’s easy to see the lines trailing behind, and thereby avoid them.

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Monty the windvane doing his thing to steer the boat. That’s one of the old-style plywood air-paddle standing up on top, and it steers us along just fine. Certainly more wobbling around than under electric pilot but it is silent and doesn’t consume any electricity!

The Singlehanded TransPacific Yacht Race is running at this time, the fleet is about half way across the pond headed for Hanalei (I got here first and beat all of them!), and one of the boats is using her Monitor windvane to steer the boat.  I haven’t used my vane lately, so I got out the McLube spray teflon, applied a light dusting to the various friction points on my Monitor vane, and hooked it up to verify that it continues to steer nicely – and it does.  Always fun to watch it work.

And then Hanalei came into view, sort of around behind the giant resort on the hill at the NE corner of the bay, I popped in and dropped the anchor.  I counted 11 boats on moorings in the bay and 13 boats on their own hook, everyone wants to be over by the river mouth to minimize exposure to the wrap-around swell.

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Sunrise in Hanalei Bay on a grey overcast morning. The SSS Tree, where the racers meet, is on the beach a bit to the right in the photo. First racers might be in by end of week, and lots of good stories will be told there.

Upshot is a good day on the water, pleasant sailing, rig tune looks good (might want to take up on the starboard cap shroud a half turn, nothing too severe), and enough rain during the evening’s squalls to wash the salt water off the deck.

Nice to be back out in a beautiful anchorage!

– rob

 

In Nawiliwili Harbor, Kauai

It was a good run of 93 miles from Oahu to Kauai, and everything worked out fine.  The trades are well out of the east and that means the Oahu mountains cast a long wind shadow out across the water.  It ‘s interesting to be out in the middle of the Pacific, Oahu long out of view below the horizon, and there’s still no wind.

The forecast was for light trades at 15 knots, in the lee of Oahu that translated to 3-8 knots of wind and flat seas.  After floating around for a while I finally put the motor on and we trundled on out to get clear of the wind shadow – that turned out to be 22 miles of motoring along in the increasing chop and reflected bouncy waves before the wind finally was able to wrap around Oahu and fan out into the channel.  Then it got progressively windier, with 20 gusting 25 mid-channel and all the way to Nawiliwili.

I was on a directly course of 301T from Barber’s Point to Nawiliwili, and it turned out the Young Brother’s tug boats with large tows were on the exact reciprocal course on their way from Nawiliwili to Barber’s Point.  There’s no ferry service in the Hawaiian Islands, which is odd as there’s significant ferry service in the Society Islands and the distances are comparable in Hawaii.  To get from island to island round these parts people fly on the airplane and everything else goes by barge.  The barges are large at 340′ x 90′, loaded with stacks of shipping containers, cars, trucks, and whatever else needs to be transported inter-island.  The tugs towing them are 100’ 3-4000 HP boats set up with ocean towing winches and gear.  It’s funny to look at the AIS a tug & tow coming straight towards you as it travels directly along the same route I had set up for me, it’s a good idea to get on the radio and decide if you’re going to pass port-to-port or starboard-to-starboard, particularly as I was going to pass starboard-to-starboard which is not the normal way to do things.  Their maneuverability is limited compared to mine, and in both cases I bore off a bit to port to open up a half mile closest point of approach then came back onto course.

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The old concrete docks in Kewalo are being dismantled, and this involves a lot of jack hammers, cutting torches, cranes, and a small boat with a lifting frame. These guys are standing on low floats in the water and are chipping away at what started as a four foot cube of concrete and rebar.

Short hopes like this are difficult for singlehanding as you don’t get into a sleep-pattern, and leaving late afternoon for an overnight run is more difficult as you’re departing after being up for most of the day.  I got in 3 hours of sleep in the afternoon before taking off from Kewalo, but the guys dismantling the concrete docks next door were busy with the jackhammers on the concrete and that didn’t help with getting sleep.

Arlen stopped by around 3pm to say Hi on his way over to do the Friday night race at Hawaii Yacht Club, I got going around 4:30pm and headed out the door – hopefully Kauai will be a nice change of pace from the noise and bustle of Honolulu.

Once clear of the Oahu wind shadow the wind did pick up, I eventually dropped the main to the third reef and rolled out the no. 4.  The wind was well aft which made it unexpectedly difficult to sail deep to aim at Nawiliwili without having the main blanket the jib.  Off into the night we went.  The stars came out in force as the bright lights of Honolulu disappeared over the horizon – it was nice to see all the stars again.  Plus it was a super clear night, no clouds, no squalls, and later on the moon popped up – all that made for a good run over.

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There’s a USCG small boat station in the harbor, they are located directly behind Beetle. The overcast has made it a dull grey afternoon in the harbor – I suspect there will be sun on and off throughout the day. Nice to be in!

Approaching Nawiliwili was a different matter – by then I was out in the trades, seas were picking up and I’m aiming at an unfamiliar harbor entrance.  The airport at Lihue is easy to spot from a distance as you just track the airliners headed in for landing – the harbor is to the left (west) of the landing planes.  There’s a 110′ tall light beacon marking the entrance to the harbor, that comes into view next, and then all you see are huge breakers crashing into rocky shoreline and you’re driving straight in at it while being pushed along with 25 knots of wind from behind – not the best situation should something to wrong, such as not finding the gap in the breakwater.  Conveniently for me a tuna trolling boat powered out from behind the breakwater and that made it obvious where to aim.  A couple of minutes of whipping in with the main up (I had rolled up the jib and turned on the engine) and Pop! you’re suddenly in the harbor behind the breakwater.  Immediately to be met by eight 8 man canoes paddling like crazy out to sea on their Saturday morning practice run.

I spent a half hour in the outer harbor motoring slowly back and forth to drop the main, set out the docklines, rig the fenders, then slowly motored in to the marina – which is behind a second breakwall.  It’s amazing how well the breakwalls worked – there’s large breakers and enormous amounts of energy striking the outside of the breakwaters, inside it’s flat, and inside the inner breakwater there’s not a ripple and hardly any surge – much better than Kewalo in that regard.  It’s shallow in here, lowest reading I saw was 9′ 6″ at the entrance and that was at low tide.  I’ve got two feet under the keel at low tide here in the slip, and these are the deep slips.

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At the dock in Nawiliwili. Need lots of fenders here and tires aren’t covered with carpet – they leave black smudges when the hull hits the tires.   Still need to re-flake the main and put the cover on.

Shortly after tying up and clearing the deck a big squall wandered over and Beetle got a good clean fresh water rinse – perfect for getting the salt off.  It’s been grey and overcast all afternoon, I suspect we’ll get some sun later on.  This side of Kauai is completely unlike being on the leeward side of the island (e.g., Honolulu) – it’s lush, green, very wet as the squalls roll through and the mountains strip off the water.  On the dry leeward side of the island it doesn’t rain much and you don’t get the impact of the squalls – the hills block the wind and the water has already fallen.  Being on the windward side would make it difficult to apply varnish without getting rained on.

The docks in Nawiliwili are same as Kewalo – fixed concrete, tires bolted to the concrete, cleats rusting heavily, and unlike Kewalo it’s quiet.  I talked with Vince next door, he’s from Newport Oregon and singlehanded his 35′ double-ender  here from San Diego via Mexico – his plan is to head over to Oahu soon to replace his tattered dinghy that he was able to scare up in Mexico after his new dinghy was stolen in San Carlos, on the Baja side of Mexico.   Apparently there’s a nearby laundromat, lots of homeless people that like to use the sole shower at the marina, and a car rental agency at the cruise ship dock a short walk away through the harbor.  I’ve got nothing I need to do today, and it’s great to be well-rested and enjoy the scenery.

– rob

 

Off to Kauai

It’s a beautiful late afternoon out here on the Pacific in front of Pearl Harbor, Beetle is at sea and headed (slowly) on an overnight run to Kauai, for to visit Nawiliwili Harbor. The conditions are light out here today and tonight, which is part of the reason I departed Kewalo today, and the game is to do an overnight run to arrive off Kauai in the morning. The distance is 93 miles which is too far to do in one afternoon, therefore the recommended approach is what I am taking – leave Oahu in the evening and arrive at Kauai next morning. From what I’ve read it also seems the tradewinds can be a bit lighter at night in the channels between the islands, which makes the trip a bit nicer.

Forecast for the channel between Oahu and Kauai is for 15 knots from the East, 5 food seas, which might be a bit lumpy but the seas should be on the beam or slightly aft – hopefully that turns out to be true.

Staying at Kewalo turned out well, and they are beavering away on removing the existing concrete docks and installing new replacement concrete docks. Too bad the docks won’t be floating ones, but at least they won’t be 60 years old and breaking in half. The project is a $20 million investment by the Hughes foundation (Howard Hughes), apparently they have leased the marina space from the city or state, and then hired Almar to actually operate the marina. So lots going on there.

Over on the Kauai end of things, there are two harbors: Port Allen that has the commercial boats, and Nawiliwili which has the recreational boats plus the commercial port where Matson and the shipping containers come in/go out. Port Allen is also undergoing dock renovation in that they are replacing their fixed concreted docks with floating docks and ramps. That project is due to run through October or November, and all the boats that would normally be in Port Allen have shifted over to Nawiliwili – which makes Nawiliwili somewhat crowded at the moment. I talked with Kristy, the Nawiliwili Harbormaster, and she had a boat departing today bound for Seattle – I’m going in to that boat’s slip, now vacated. It’s super nice that this worked out.

I’m looking forward to not being in busy Honolulu, and instead being in (hopefully) not-so-busy Nawiliwili. I haven’t been to this harbor since 1996 or so, and I was amazed to find that there is a Kmart, Home Depot, and Safeway grocery store right there in the area. Who would have thought? It used to be way off the beaten path unless you had business at the port; perhaps Kauai has grown in population and retail sales.

Right now Beetle is wobbling along downhill in 15-18 knots of wind, 4 foot seas, rolling a bit under double-reefed main only – I need to keep boat speed down to avoid arriving too early on the other side.

All is well!

– rob

Pokai Bay didn’t work for Beetle

Yesterday was the first day of trying out cruising the Hawaiian Islands – didn’t go particularly well as I was back at Kewalo Harbor at 9pm.   I have built up a (short) laundry list of places that the local sailing crowd likes to visit – on Oahu they are Pokai Bay, Makua, and Kaneohe Bay.  Kaneohe Bay is on the windward side of the island and while the swell is knocked down by a fringing reef the area sees the tradewinds full-on coming in off the ocean.  I’ve been there and found poor holding ground in mud in amongst the coral, not my idea of a great place to hang out.   Pokai Bay and Makua are both around on the leeward side of Oahu, relatively close to where Beetle’s slip is.

The trade winds are up, there’s a High pressure system north of the islands that is compressing the pressure gradient across the waters, trades are running E/NE at 20 knots and accelerating through the gaps between islands.  In these conditions the run across Kaiwi Channel from Oahu to Maui is essentially a straight beat into 5 foot wind chop over a 3′-5′ swell, winds gusting into the 30s.  Not so much fun, and conditions are forecast to hold for at least four days until the High drifts off to the east a bit and the pressure gradient flattens out.  Not a good time to sail to Maui.

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Pokai Bay as it displays on the chart plotter. The depths are in fathoms, the red track is where I went, and Waianae harbor is upper left – we don’t fit there and they don’t like dinghies.

I decided to check out Pokai Bay, that’s in the opposite direction, 27 miles NW from Kewalo Harbor on a pleasant downwind run.  Forecast was 11-15 knots in the lee of Oahu and Pokai is supposed to have a nice sandy anchorage out in front of the breakwater built out off the beach.  There also happens to be a small boat harbor right in the same bay, Waianae Harbor managed by the DLNR (Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Hawaii state-level group that manages most of the harbors).  I telephoned the Waianae harbor office, spoke with a nice lady and asked after dinghy landing – there is no dinghy dock, no landing allowed in the harbor.  In theory I could tie to the loading dock for less than 30 minutes, but I might need to move the dinghy.  If the dinghy was registered and had insurance naming Waianae Harbor as an additional insured I could rent a slip for the day and dock my dinghy there.  I asked after controlling depth, and was told a 45′ sailboat is too large to fit in their facility.  I asked after anchoring outside the harbor, and she said she didn’t know anything about that.  Hmm… not so helpful, but good to know I should not plan to utilize the Waianae Harbor for any reason.

Coming morning I was up and out of Kewalo, sails up and out into the Pacific.  There’s a wind shadow within the first half mile from the beach with light air, outside the breeze was up, 20-25 gusting 30 as the trades wrapped around Diamond Head and fanned out on the leeward side of Oahu.  Had a fine sail around Barber’s Point though the military exclusion zone out in front of Pearl Harbor forces one out into the stronger winds.  One gybe and Beetle carried on.

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Not something you see every day on the AIS laptop display. The Pearl Harbor security zone is the large pink box upper right of the screen, the submarine is passing behind Beetle (which is the green icon).

An interesting thing I noticed was US WARSHIP that appeared on the AIS display – not every day one sees that, the associated description being broadcast included the phrase “engaged in military operations”.  The AIS broadcast includes the vessel’s length, beam, and draft – no length or beam was mentioned but the draft was listed as 25.5 meters.  What in the world draws that much?  I was wondering if the ship could possibly be a submarine and sure enough – a big submarine wandered by astern of Beetle, turned right, paralleled me for a couple of miles and then veered off into the ocean.  I haven’t seen one of those in a long time, and when viewed from the side they look for all the world like a tall grey cereal box on the surface (the conning tower) being followed by a giant shark fin (the tail sticking up).

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Not much of the submarine is visible from the surface, though it does look like a box being trailed by a very large shark fin. Nobody was on the bridge that I could see.

The wind backed off several miles past Barber’s Point, I put up more sail and had a fine run to Pokai Bay.  I wasn’t planning to anchor behind the breakwater adjacent to the harbor, primarily due to depth (charted depth is 7-8′, I draw 8′) and also due to reports in the local newspapers that the breakwater traps water and collects bacteria – lots of infections reported from swimmers behind the breakwater.  I had read two reports that anchoring out in front of the breakwater was good so I figured to try that out.  Swell was 2 feet, relatively low, wind chop maybe a foot on top of that, looked maybe bumpy but otherwise OK.

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Barber’s Point is the big green lump, beyond it is Pokai Bay, hiding in an indentation of the island.

The water there is clear, you can look down and watch the boat’s shadow move across the white bottom, the brown patches of rock or coral are readily visible in 30 feet of water.  I went in to 15 feet,  that seemed shallow, I went back out to 27 feet and dropped the anchor – no big deal.

One thing I learned in French Polynesia is the first thing you do after dropping the hook is swim down and check the anchor.  I had my mask, fins, and snorkel in the cockpit and ready to go, hook hit the bottom, over went the swim ladder and in I went – leaving the engine idling in case I needed to move the boat.  I followed the chain out 150′ and sure enough, there was the anchor laying on its side on top of the sandy bottom.  That’s odd – normally you can’t see the anchor’s pointy end – it’s supposed to be dug in.  I swam down to inspect more closely and found the anchor was lying on top of a wide rocky flat plate with a 1/2″ to 1″ of sand on top – no wonder everything looked sandy from up top.  The entire area was nothing but wide flat rock plates that ran off into the distance, the plates separated by narrow (10′) channels running between the plates and two feet lower, the channels having thicker sand in them.  I swam around a bit and looked off in different directions – visibility was terrific and made it really obvious that if I wanted to stay here I would need to get the anchor into one of the sandy channels and hope it would hang up on the 2′ lip/ledge at the edge where the plates met the channels.  That did not sound like fun to me.  Hmm… plan B – return to Kewalo Harbor.

I went up, toweled off, pulled up the anchor and headed out, a good run back to Barber’s Point and then I had to clear the Pearl Harbor security zone.  That put Beetle back out into the stronger wind and we plunked along straight into the breeze, shoveling spray clear over the boat.  It got dark and I had a good view of the Friday night fireworks display in front of the Waikiki hotels.

By 9pm I was back in the Kewalo Harbor entrance, wind had dropped off to near zero as we’re in the high rise wind shadow, and all was good.

I’m disappointed with Pokai Bay; if that’s a good spot that folks like, then what are the other’s like?  A friend went up to Kaneohe Bay and stayed at the yacht club for a couple of days, then over to Lahaina where he’s on a mooring or inside the marina breakwater – not a lot of offshore anchoring going on there.  I ran across a useful article by Quantum Sails regarding what to do ’round these parts, the two recommended anchorages are Hanalei (Kauai) and Makena Start Park (Maui).  I know Hanalei from the Singlehanded TransPac races – that’s a great anchorage.  If Makena is in that league then is a place I want to learn more about.

Upshot – Beetle is back in Kewalo, it’s a fine sunny morning, I have lots of food on board so will have a good breakfast and think of what I’d like to do.  Plan is to roll out of here June 1 and hop over to Hanalei Bay, on Kauai.  Kauai is 120 miles downwind from here, it’s generally easy to get there and not at all easy to get back as you’re banging back into the trades.  If I want to visit anywhere else here by boat I should do so before heading to Hanalei.

– rob

 

Kewalo is a nice harbor

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The docks in Kewalo are fixed concrete piers with tires hung off the sides to act as fenders, the tires are in turn covered with old carpet to keep the black marks off the hull. The boats hang fenders to keep the carpet from rubbing against the hull. The tidal range is about two feet from high to low, therefore the dock lines are kept relatively loose. There is surge through the marina, so you try to tie the boat off in such a way that you never quite touch the concrete.

Beetle has been happily hanging out in the slip in Kewalo Boat Harbor, and this has been a vast improvement over Ala Wai.  The people here are relatively few, most pleasant, and working on various boat projects.  There is also a lot of charter boat activity and it’s amazing to see all dive tanks come and go from the boats each day – I’m thinking it’s on the order of several hundred tanks from this dock alone.  I asked one of the fellows loading dozens of tanks into his pickup truck in the parking lot, and each dive shop is running their own compressor to keep everything filled up.

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The main pier features a narrow walkway filled with tripping hazards and lined with big heavy metal enclosures for the Hawaii Electric Company power breakers to each slip. The dive operations leave lots and lots of tanks out on the docks as they shift them from the boat to the car to the shop to refill, and back again.

Being out here on the tippy top of a tall mountain in the middle of the Pacific does have its drawbacks – hurricanes, tsunami waves, and volcanos.   Keeps one on one’s toes, as it were.

Each morning I check the National Weather Service forecasts to see what might be coming down the track, and on the 72 hour WFax there was a Low pressure area indicated with the annotation: “Possible TC” – that would be bad (TC = Tropical Cyclone = Hurricane).  It was located well off to the east, about latitude 13 North.  That would be no good if it formed up and wobbled over this way.  The NWS Hurricane Center Eastern Pacific is now part of my morning reading.

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The US Geological Survey has this image looking down into the Kilauea crater, the lava lake of molten rock is glowing way down inside – normally the lake is right at the top of the crater. The drop in lake level has left behind a chimney formed of not-very-stable rock.

At the same time Kilauea Volcano, the active volcano located on Hawaii (the island) is rumbling and it looks as though the magma underground has found a new path up and out to relieve pressure – it’s splitting open vents in the eastern rift zone and magma is flowing out (called lava when it gets above ground).  The molten rock is mowing down houses and roads and setting fire to the forested areas.  The US Geological Survey volcano hazards program is pointing out that if the lake surface of molten rock/lava (which is believed to be supplying the magma being expelled at the vents) drops far enough to be below the local water table, water will flow into the extra hot lava lake, form superheated steam, and Foom! – big explosion of volcanic rock as excess pressure is relieved. All this is of more than passing interest simply because I happen to be more or less in the area.

That same morning the marina harbormaster’s office sent around the Hawaii Hurricane/Tsunami Manual as a .pdf attached to an email.  Hmm… somewhat tenuous ’round these parts…  I read with interest what to do in the event the tsunami warning sirens go off (answer: if you’re out on the water then move out to 300′ depth or more, if on shore get to higher ground).

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A second US Geological Survey image of ash rising from the crater.  When a rockfall happens inside the crater’s chimney, the rock hits the lava surface and tons of ash, steam, and other goodies are lofted into the air. Currently the ash is rising to an altitude of 6500′ and drifting downwind.

There isn’t much fog or smog on the islands, simply because the prevailing tradewinds blow everything airborne out to sea.  With the volcano kicking out large ash clouds when there are rockfalls inside the crater, that creates a wide area of suspended particulates to leeward of the islands.  And then the wind turns and comes in from the southwest (locally called a Kona wind) the volcano’s particulates return and we get ‘vog’ (volcano fog).  That happened the last couple of days and it made the sunsets particularly colorful and visibility dropped to not so much.  We’re getting the trades back, so all that stuff is back out at sea again.

I’ve wrapped up the work on Beetle and have had the boat out several times to load up the new rigging and have been tightening turnbuckles as the wires stretch.   This is good.  Also have the Antal low friction rings attached to strong small Harken padeyes that are attached to the Harken deck tracks via 1/4″ diameter machine screws.  The padeyes prevent the jib car from sliding aft far enough to support the no. 1 genoa, but I haven’t been using that particular sail much, and installing the padeyes directly to the track means I don’t have two new holes (per padeye) through the deck.  If I do want to go back and use the no. 1 it’s relatively simply to remove the machine screws and the track becomes usable, though slightly lighter as it has two more holes in the top surface.

One of the fun activities has been to go sailing with Ronnie on his Peterson 34 Quiver in the Hawaii YC Friday Night Beer Can races.

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Ronnie is fun to sail with, he has a cadre of friends from the university that don’t necessarily know much about racing but which are always invited to join in – they sure do know a lot about catching fish!

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Kristen and crew on board Quiver, we’re pointing towards the turning mark at Ala Wai entrance. It’s a real reef we’re sailing to and the channel is narrow – not something you want to miss on your way in, and most finishes are after dark.  I had to bring up the exposure a lot in the image to see anything at all, it goes dark quickly as the sun sets.  Still, it’s not cold water sailing.

I did discover on one outing that I need to remember that more than one jib halyard is in use now.  When the headsails are stored on the furler, I release tension on the sail by backing off the halyard at the winch.  To go sailing, take back up on the halyard.  I was out using the no. 4 and main and noticed I had forgotten to take back up on the no. 4; up I went with the long halyard winch handle, took up some load, and nothing happened.  That’s weird.  I took up some more – still nothing.  Went sailing anyway.  When I got back to the dock and was releasing tension I realized I had been pulling on the no. 2 halyard, not the no. 4.  The in-use furling jib halyard has always been the starboard halyard winch – I need to remember that the port halyard winch handles the no. 4. At least it was an easy fix.

To manage the additional furling line required adding a rope clutch to the deck, and it wasn’t going to be easy to squeeze one into the space available.  Plus one of the older Antal clutches has split open where the aluminum has oxidized, so that needed replacing.  While investigating the clutches I figured out how to grease them, and went and greased up all of them.  It takes a small dab of grease on a brush, apply brush to the aluminum side plates where the rotating eccentric cam goes by – operating the handle rotates the cam and the grease is distributed.

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The unhappy clutch is to the right, the brand new one is to the left. Just getting the clutches turned into quite a chore: the original order from Svendsen’s to Euro Marine Trading for two clutches was not placed, then it was placed and Euro Marine put one clutch in the box while claiming they had put two in the box. After two months of back and forth, a second clutch was sent out to Svendsen’s, only I wasn’t in California by that time so I couldn’t fly it back with me on the plane. Shipping is $40 to get it here, but Steve was able to rescue the clutch from Svendsen’s, hand it off to Kristen, who shipped it out much less expensively. Only took three months to actually get the thing – but it’s the right thing!

I’ve been reading up on places that could be interesting to visit, with the intent to wrap up the stay in Hawaii at Hanalei Bay, Kauai.  The places one can reasonably anchor in the islands are few.  There’s no fringing reef in the area, and one needs to be ready to shift around the island (or head out to sea) if winds shift and onshore breezes set in with their associated swell pattern.

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Waiting for someone to arrive with the a fuel card. Lots of signs explaining what to do if you do have such a card!

Fueling up in Oahu is not as straightforward as going to the fuel dock – first you have to find out where the fuel dock is.  Hint: it’s not in Ala Wai Harbor, and it’s not Kewalo Harbor – you go 4 miles up the way to Keehi Marine Center, they have the fuel dock.  Only the fuel dock doesn’t have an attendant, instead it’s a self-service system where the local boaters have an account and a fuel card arranged with the Marine Center.    If you’re like me and you don’t have such an account, you telephone the yard office and eventually, as in 45 minutes later, a fellow breaks away from whatever he is doing in the yard and arrives wearing his hard hat to operate the pumps for the non-local boater without an account.   The funny part is the existence of a very short timer on the fuel card system – once the ‘go’ button is pushed you have 20 seconds to get the fuel flowing into the tank, if you pause the fueling system shuts down and you get to start all over.  It took two hours to fuel up Beetle using this system, what with the multiple tanks, pauses to check levels, and continually resetting the pump system.  Price was pretty good, less than the gasoline.  Turns out that diesel is not road-taxed.

The morning weather forecast is calling for a bend in the trades to the NE on Wednesday and the breeze should go lighter, that might be the day to make the 50 mile crossing to Kaunakakai Harbor on Molokai.  It’s not an actual harbor one can go in to, but it does have a pier poking out and should have protection from the NE and E.  Places to go learn more about!

– rob

 

April in Oahu wrap-up

It’s been a busy month or so here in Ala Wai, quite a bit has been done on board Beetle and I’m quite happy with what’s happened.  At this point all of the major projects are completed, and I will have some time to go play tourist-in-Oahu.

April started out in a fairly crazy fashion – I have spent a fair bit of time on the mainland helping out with some work there, and needed some additional time here in Ala Wai to complete my own projects.  I had intended to extend my stay one month (e.g., into May).  I checked with the Ala Wai harbormaster and was informed that visiting yachts have a maximum 120 day stay in any one of the state harbors, and my end-date is April 30. egad!  Time to put things into high gear to wrap up what I can, as well as find another place that could handle Beetle for the month.

There are not a many marinas around town, and Beetle is somewhat draft-limited as at 8 feet – for example Keehi Marine Center informed me that 7 feet was what they could handle.

I talked with John, the Kewalo Boat Harbor harbormaster to see if he had room, this is an Almar-run marina located up the road about a mile.  They are in the middle of a major dock replacement and upgrade, the John thinks he has might have one slip that would work for me.  He  couldn’t commit to that straight away, so I started looking around to see what else is available.  Not much – at least not here in the Honolulu area.

I’ve also looked around and learned a bit about other areas to see in Hawaii, and several of the local sailors have said that May is when the cruising season in Hawaii kicks off – I should consider Lahaina (Maui Island), there’s Nawiliwili (Kauai Island), and Kona (Hawaii Island).  The anchorage at Kaneohe Bay is known for soft mud and iffy holding plus I’ve been there before (Pacific Cup 2000 finish, dragged around in the mud on the Fortress anchor) so I’m not planning to go there.  At least I’ve learned of a couple of places that could work, cruising season is starting up, I’m not feeling so worried about not having a slip come May 1.  However, I have to get the work done that requires a dock before not having a dock becomes a possibility.

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It’s a long way down when working at the top of the rig.

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The view out to sea from up high is pretty darn nice, though. Most of the time I don’t look out, but rather focus on what I’m working on right in front of me.

The headstay rigging work requires dock space for laying out the furler foils and wire, cutting the headstays to length, assembling the furlers, and getting them back up in the rig.  There was a small problem with the rigging that came in from Buzz – the D3 shroud is 6mm compact strand and could accept either a 7/16″ diameter stud or a 1/2″ diameter stud with a clevis pin that would match the chainplate hole.  When Buzz and I rigged Beetle initially with the new Ballenger spar we used the smaller diameter stud; that bit of information didn’t make it into his notes so the new D3 arrived with the larger diameter stud swaged on – which meant the turnbuckle body on the boat no longer fit the stud on the new wire.  Argh!  A quick telephone conversation with Buzz later I had new bronze turnbuckle bodies on the way – but time goes by while waiting for parts.

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Checking the furling swivels for clearance. The solent furler should land just below the stainless halyard retainer set on the front of the spar. The idea is to be certain the furling swivels will not collide with each other – one wants to know this before drilling the big hole in the mast for the solent stay backing plate.

The folding bicycle needs a place to live while the boat is sailing – and a padded bag would be a good thing.  I looked at a number of pre-made bags and they either had no padding (being more of a storage cover), or they weren’t made specifically for the bicycle and were voluminous in the extreme.  I decided to make my own on the sewing machine, ordering up some DuPont Cordura and using 3mm thick closed cell PVC foam yoga mats as padding.  The Cordura came in from SailRite, I found the padding at the local Target  store.

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Beetle as a sewing shop – trimming and marking the nylon Cordura with the hot knife. The metal ruler is used beneath the fabric to protect the table surface from the very hot knife edge.

When all was done I’ve got a bag that protects the bike from the boat and the boat from the bike.  Still not sure where to store the bicycle, so currently it sits behind the starboard lee cloth when Beetle is underway.

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The mostly-finished bag worked out fairly well, it’s easy to get the bicycle in and out and padded enough that the metal parts of the bicycle don’t damage the surrounding woodwork. Still need to add straps as closures to hold the top down over the contents.

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And the folded Dahon is happily in its new home.

With the sewing machine out and set up on the main cabin table, it was a good time to move forward with constructing a replacement mainsail cover.  The existing sunbrella cover had finally succumbed to UV and the cloth was failing.  I had purchased a bunch of sunbrella and shipped it over, along with a 1 pound cone of V-92 UV treated thread.  I like to build the cover as a series of 60″ cloth widths joined together such that the joins drape over the mainsail – each new section is sewn to the preceding section, then the top center line is set with clothes pins and staples, marked, the cover goes back down below to the sewing machine and stitched, then proceed to the next section.  Starting at the mast is the way to do this, and the shape around the mast is the most difficult piece as it has the most shape changes going on – around the mast, handle the bulk of the sail stacked up on the luff slugs, the angle down towards the boom… that always takes a while to get the material to fit.  The next piece is simpler, and from there on out the cover is close to a circular tube and relatively easy.

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Checking the panels for fit. Here the first one is roughly set, the second one is half-sewn and the top line is being set. It takes sets of panels to make the cover.

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Cutting the sunbrella requires clearing out the port settee cushions, as underneath there’s a 6 foot long flat section of plywood that can handle the cloth’s 60″ width. Same rules as cutting on the table, use the hot knife on top of the ruler. Don’t all boats carry around a 4′ straight edge ruler?

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All the panels are cut and stitched together. Final big step is to set the bottom line prior to hemming and installing the nylon clips.

Completing the standing rigging was the most important thing to get done, and with the replacement turnbuckle bodies in hand the D3 shrouds went up easily, especially as they are the lightest piece of rigging up there.  After the D3s were in place, the last job was to measure and cut the two new headstays, plus figure out how I was going to install the Schaefer furling extrusions on the inner solent forestay; the headstay uses a toggle at the masthead held in place with a horizontal clevis pin – that’s an easy one to remove and work on as all you need to do is support the weight of the wire & furler (a short block and tackle attached to a spinnaker block bail does that), pull the pin, and lower the unit on the spinnaker halyard.  The solent stay was going to be different, as it attaches to the mast with a lollipop fitting that slots into the backing plate with the wire at 90 degrees to the mast.  No way to hold the furler out at 90 degrees to the spar while 60 feet in the air.  I had a telephone consultation with Buzz about this and his recommendation was to install the stay on the mast and then feed the aluminum extrusions onto the wire from the bottom, riveting the connecting joints & bearings in place as the extrusions went up the wire.  That worked out to be an easy way to do it, actually easier than building the whole thing on the deck and then lifting it up afterwards.  When the unit needs to come down in 8-9 years to replace the wire I will need to reverse the process, drilling out the rivets and separating the extrusions one at a time to remove them from the wire (alternatively, I could pull the mast and do the work in the yard).

I talked with Arlen and we went out to his machine shop to utilize the US Navy surplus drill press he has to drill holes in the solent stay chainplate.  That worked out well, that drill press was ancient, incredibly solid, and had a concentric chuck – quite the work horse it turned out to be.  Apparently US Navy surplus is a valuable commodity out in these parts of the Pacific.

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The polished and drilled chainplate is finally bolted to the new mini-bulkhead up in the anchor locker. The solent furling drum is sitting on top of the chainplate to check for clearance with the anchor locker hatch – I had to trim the leading edge of the locker lid to avoid hitting the furling drum.

Part of the job of installing the solent stay was to install the backing plate into the mast.  This requires a 1-3/4″ hole drilled through the front of the mast, a stainless steel backing plate slipped in through the hole, drilling four more 1/4″ holes for the rivets, then setting the rivets to hold the plate in place.  I learned a fair bit about rivets in short order, as the normal 316 stainless rivets I use have hollow tubular bodies, and I was looking for a slightly longer rivet that might be stronger.  Turns out there exists something called a “structural rivet”, and the ones I found via McMaster-Carr are rated for 2000 pounds (shear and tension) each.  Four of them would support 4 tons of load.  I ordered up 20 of them in 18-8 stainless, the same grade the average marine stainless fastener.  These are wonderful rivets, handle a wide range of material thickness, and the mandrel is designed to be pulled into the body of the rivet and snap off flush with the rivet head, leaving the mandrel in place and creating a solid cylinder of 18-8 stainless as the fastener – no hollow tubes in these rivets!

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A tale of two rivets: the left is the 316 stainless pop rivet that leaves a hollow tube of metal in the hole after the mandrel head pops off and the mandrel pulls free out the front. On the right is the 18-8 stainless structural rivet – the pulling mandrel head remains in place and the mandrel snaps off flush with the rivet head. Structural rivets are great! – I’m glad I ordered extra, I can use them on the boom vang bracket down the road.

Drilling the 1-3/4″ hole was an afternoon job involving a brand new Milwaukee hole saw, lots of oil, and my big Milwaukee 1/2″ chuck drill running at very slow speeds.  Part way through the cut the centering bit snapped off, which was unfortunate (I was able to retrieve the broken end from the mast).  I had to go back down the mast to find another centering drill, and in fact went back up with three in hand in case I broke another one.  With all the holes in place it was fairly easy to slip the backing plate into the mast, with a length of dacron cord run in through a rivet hole, through the hole in the backing plate, and back out of the mast – the cord is used to a) not drop the backing plate down to the bottom interior of the mast (from where I would not be able to retrieve it), and b) pull the plate tight against the inside mast wall while setting the rivets.  I carry a large rivet gun capable of setting 1/4″ rivets, as this size rivet is used to set the vang bracket into the boom and I have to replace those rivets on occasion.  I got to use the rivet gun for this job and the structural rivets are super easy to set.

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The holes drilled into the mast, before the backing plate goes in. The backing plate sort of rests on the lower ledge of the hole/cut-out, while the rivets pull the backing forward against the spar wall. The same fittings are used on the shrouds, and they definitely have held up to the loads.

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The backing place set. After doing this I decided I didn’t like the hollow rivets, and that’s when I went on the journey to find the structural rivets and had them overnighted in from Southern California. The headstay lollipop fitting slots into the backing plate at 90 degrees to the mast, then rotates to point towards the deck – no way the lollipop can jump out at that point.

Arlen came over for the headstay-down show, and Tom from down the dock helped out – we got the headstay onto the dock in 30 minutes.  The dock itself consists of two sections, a central walkway of smooth soft plastic lumber, and a foot-wide edge that is hard nasty sandy non-skid that would scratch the anodizing on the aluminum extrusions.   Off to Lowes to find a cloth canvas painter’s drop cloth which I then cut into two-foot-wide lengths and stitched together – instant 60 foot by 2 foot drop cloth, a size I suspect most painters don’t need.  With the headstay on the drop cloth and out of the walkway, it was then simple to slide out the old headstay with a length of 1/8″ dacron cord attached, shift the cord to the new wire and pull the new wire back into the furler.

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Cutting wire to length is never any fun. You get one chance and it had better be correct. I always measure from the 1′ mark on the tape to avoid concern over exactly where the end is on the tape. I spent half a morning going over all the numbers to be certain I had the numbers correct, and then you just walk outside, measure, and chop. The furler extrusions are wrapped in the cloth near the water, I didn’t want anyone walking on them while working on the wire.

Getting the Hi-Mod mechanical fittings in place took a bit longer, as in several hours.  The first one I put together was on a short length of compact strand wire as a test.  The wire is extremely stiff and strong and does not like to bend at all.  Getting the cone and its small brass colored collar into place with each strand in the correct slot while not having the collar fly out of the fitting when the wires go Sproing! was a study in patience.  I finally worked out a way to unlay the outer wires without simultaneously unlaying the inner wires, mostly by using a screwdriver, needle nose pliers, and a small set of vice grips.  At least I didn’t poke any holes in my fingers with the sharp wire ends.

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The inner workings of a Hi-Mod mechanical terminal. The wire is three sets of strands: solid central core, a set of twisted small wires around the core, and the much larger vaguely triangular wires wrapped around the outside. Below the yellow collar (that individually traps and places the outside strands) is a cone that rides on the inner side of wires. When the fitting is tightened down with wrenches the cone is crushed and grips the inner strands while the outer strands are gripped by ridges at the base of the fitting. Nice way to make the end fitting, particularly when you don’t have a rotary swaging machine.

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The stud terminal before tightening up. The cone and collar are in the part on the left with the wire coming out, the stud terminal threads into the body, applying the pressure to seat the wire into the fitting.

With that figured out it was relatively easy to install the two Hi-Mod mechanical stud terminals on the bottom ends of the two stays.  Arlen was back over the next day and up went the headstay, clevis pins and cotter pins installed, and Beetle suddenly looked like a sailing boat again.  I spent two days cleaning out the interior, removing lots of left over materials from being a rig shop, put away the sewing machine, and voila! – time to go out and start tuning the rig.  The new wire will stretch as it loaded up, and it’s fairly useful to keep the mast in column.  To do that requires going sailing to place loads on the wires, then sight up the mast tube to see which way the various sections are leaning.  If the masthead is falling off to leeward, odds are good the cap shroud needs to be tightened up; the middle of the spar is more interesting: if the middle is pulling to windward does that mean the weather cap shroud is too loose, the weather D3 is too tight, or is the leeward D3 too loose?  Tugging on various wires while sailing along is a good way to see the effect and sometimes loosening the weather wire is better than taking in on the leeward wire.  You shouldn’t be tightening the turnbuckle that is loaded (e.g., the weather turnbuckle) as that is extra hard on the turnbuckle threads.  To actually tighten a weather turnbuckle requires tacking the boat first, setting up on the new tack, then go forward with the tool bag and make adjustments.  So a change would go something like, “let’s see… starboard side… one turn on the cap, one half turn on D3 and D2.  Remember that!”  Go tack boat and make the changes, tack back and see what the effect was.

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The two headstays now share the load generated by the backstay, so it’s time to adjust relative tensions. The tension is managed by the turnbuckle body that is normally hidden inside the furling system’s torque tube. With the tube lifted up out of the way I can get at the turnbuckles and spin them around the tighten the stays until they seem about matched.

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Out with Arlen off Waikiki to try out the rigging and tighten things up. It’s not so easy to do when it’s really windy, which it was – we’re still way reefed down.

So far I’ve had three good days out on the water twiddling with the turnbuckles, and the rig is looking good and straight (or at least in column, as there is an intentional fore-and-aft curve to the spar built into the setup).  Ideally you’d like to have 12-14 knots of breeze and flat water for tuning, what I had was 20-34 knots of wind and swell to work with – so tuning started rather cautiously with no sails up at all and the windage of the mast was enough to demonstrate wire that was out of whack.  Then it was third reef time, more tuning as things started to stretch, finally two reefs and the no. 4 and more winding on of the turnbuckles.

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The new no. 2 genoa is unfurled, flying out in front of the no. 4 jib on the inner furler. The system has worked out well so far!

While boat projects were underway, I visited Kewalo Harbor and they came through with flying colors and offered Beetle a slip for the month of May – this is fantastic.  Ala Wai has been an interesting place to be, to put it mildly.  In general the floating docks are well done and nice, the falling apart concrete fixed docks are there and continuing to fall apart.  This is the first marina I have been in where the dock gates are chained OPEN – anyone can wander down to the docks at any time, and they do.  I’d observe hotel guests down on the docks working with their camera to get the right picture, the homeless folks were cruising the docks, and there’s a significant methamphetamine problem that results in people that have a rather different view of the world than the average person you’d meet.  There are four of the latter people apparently squatting on one of the state-owned repossed boats, along with two more people that have a terrible relationship that results in lots of shouting and screaming across the docks and emanating from their boat.   All it takes, in this case, is six people to generally spoil things for everyone else, and that’s unfortunate.

I asked the harbormaster’s office about the gates, and was told that the gates don’t offer security anyway, and they don’t have the funds to install programmable card key locks.  From my perspective, the first thing you do to increase security is restrict access – just because you have a perfect bank vault does not mean you invite the burglars to hang out inside the bank, you also lock the front door when you go home at night.  That doesn’t seem to be the case at the Ala Wai marina – if the gates are locked they don’t increase security, which is patently false – having lockable gates (even with a regular metal key), at least access is made more difficult.  The fixed concrete docks use gates (chain link fence with a padlock), and people seem to like to lock their gate – but that doesn’t work for the expansive floating docks.

I am quite pleased to be away from the community at Ala Wai – it’s much more quiet in Kewalo.  There’s more surge and the boat moves a bit in the slip; offset that by the pleasure of not having the company of Cat Regal (the woman who continually broke into my neighbor’s boat so she could sleep at night, and when arrested by the police, was released the next day as it appears Vessel Trespass is a misdemeanor, only to be arrested again for breaking into the same boat), not having the Ala Wai canal dump dirt and trees and tons of plastic floating debris into the harbor, and the shouting of the couple down the dock.  Police officers on the docks in Ala Wai happened so often that one eventually becomes inured to their presence; hopefully that does not happen here!

– rob/beetle