Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Pacific Seacraft Rendevous

Now that the bright work is done, it was time to head out on our first real adventure. The folks at Seacraft Yacht Sales had scheduled the annual Pacific Seacraft Rendevous in Port Townsend, WA for early August. It would be our first opportunity to really see what Talos IV could do and we weren't to be disappointed. It was also our first time to motor down the ship canal to the sound. This transition necessitates the lifting of both the Fremont Bridge and the Ballard Bridge, as well as passage of the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks. After locking through, the final lifting of the Burlington Northern RR Bridge clears the way to Elliott Bay.

What sounded like a grand adventure locking through was over shadowed by the possibility of dings and dents to our newly completed varnish work. Given our concerns, the day before departure, we went to the locks by land to observe the procedure. From the observation platform above we were able to see the process. Watch and learn! That afternoon we went to Fisheries and bought 18" round fenders.

We headed out Thursday afternoon bound for Shilshole Marina. We planned to meet with the rest of the attendee vessels from our moorage, spend the night, and depart as a group early Friday. The bridge lifts went like clockwork. Paul was at the helm, holding Talos IV steady while we waited for the bridge tender of Fremont and then Ballard to give us the one long and one short blast for clearance. The approach to the locks was open, we saw the green light on the smaller lock and slowly moved forward into position. We declared our length and beam. We were told to tie up "starboard to". Quickly I worked to set all fenders on both sides to provide protection from the lock wall as well as the other boats on our port side. The height had to be just right so it would not chafe the wood but allow space off the lock walls. The lock workers make eye contact with the crew on bow while the lead guy on shore tells the helmsman where to put the bow. We tied up at our instructed position. The worker stays close by and instructs on procedure or line management as needed. Everything went smoothly. No damage was done and we felt the best thing we did, was the observation we conducted from shore and the purchase of the round 18" fenders. We received several comments on the varnish work from other boaters and the workers during the passing. Credit for the work quality was given to Terry at Yachtfitters. We referred to him as "The Master" who taught us.

Arrival at Shilshole was uneventful. We were the first of the "fleet" to arrive. A hot, long shower was our reward for days of preparation and weeks of labor. The rest of the crew (furry felines) were basically unaware of the new moorage and slept soundly during the entire ordeal.

We departed early the following morning from Shilshole along with s/v Green House and s/v Tavarua, both 40' Pacific Seacrafts. After motoring out and sizing up a wind that appeared to be off our beam at about 10 knots, we hoisted our sails (main, genoa and staysail) and began what would become a wonderful day of sailing. Each time Green House or Tavarua tacked, we tacked and before long we were over taking both and an unofficial race was on. Even though they should have been much faster boats than Talos IV due to their longer waterline we continued to gain on them. This continued for most of the day until the wind dropped and we motored the rest of the way into Port Townsend.

The marina was full of other Pacific Seacrafts of all sizes. There were several other 37's, the two 40's and a good number of Flicka's and 24's. We met the group for dinner that evening and an excellent talk from Steve Brodie, President and Owner of Pacific Seacraft. The following morning began with a talk from Frank Schattauer from Schattauer Sails a local Seattle sail maker with an excellent reputation for top notch custom sails. That afternoon was the Pacific Seacraft Regatta, a friendly race. We were placed in the same group as Tavarua. It was an extremely close race, with both boats running beam to beam as we rounded the marks. In the end, Tavarua beat us by only a few boat lengths. It was great fun!

Unfortunately, as the race progressed Paul began to feel ill and by the time the race was over, it was all he could do to go below and lay out in the v-berth. After Janet got the boat put away, she made an assessment and determined that Paul had a hernia. She made arrangements for a taxi to the local hospital where it was determined that it was indeed a hernia. After administering pain killers, they made attempts to massage the hernia back in, with no luck. The doctor informed us that he would have to do emergency surgery. A few hours later it was all over. Paul spent the night in the hospital while Janet went back to the boat. Paul was released the following morning as good as new, but moving very slowly.

We decided to spend another day in Port Townsend to allow him to heal up and then headed back to Seattle. With Janet at the helm, we motored all the way back. Locking through and passage under the two bridges was uneventful and we made it back to our slip on Lake Union by late afternoon.