Cruising with Skypond

We’re in Rain Rain Rainville.  We’re supposedly in a rain shadow, but I’m not convinced. Despite all that, it’s been a great winter in Port Townsend, living aboard Sky Pond in the Point Hudson Marina, meeting all the people in this small town, spending time in the coffee shops, bars and art galleries. We’ve taken advantage of our local library to the max and knocked out most of our must see list of movies and documentaries.  Esquire’s list of top 10 documentaries is excellent by the way.


Roxy and I have visited Seattle a few times to check out the major sights, galleries, museums and some of the eateries.  The bus-ferry system is super simple, cheap and synchronized with pick up and drop off a block from the boat. We’ve even become square dancing regulars at the local grange although as newbies, Roxy and I have to really concentrate so as to not incite chaos in whatever square we’re in but it’s still a bunch of knee slappin’ fun. Roxy and I also go to the gym almost daily, especially easy since it’s only a block away, alternating between dumbbells, body pump, and body flow (combo of Tai chi, pilates, and yoga).  We saw an organized group of exercise enthusiasts use some sort of a strap device, created by Navy SEALs no less, to employ body weight for resistance training.  This looked interesting as it’s something that could work tons (if you excuse the expression) better than a bunch of dumbbells in the cockpit. So after Roxy tested it out an gave the approval, I bought a TRX strap off of eBay ‘cause that’s where you go to buy brand new fitness equipment for less than 1/2 price from people that don’t want to exercise despite getting fitness stuff for Christmas.  Roxy and I also each just got inflatable paddle boards but won’t attempt cruising around on them until we’re in warmer waters. They look great though: Still need fishing gear!  I’ve made it a goal to be able to feed ourselves this summer just off of what we catch. We don’t even know what fish look like so hopefully whatever we catch is safe to eat. We’ll get a crab pot too. At least we know what crabs look like. I’ve been riding my bike when the pavement is dry, but that’s not been often, and rides are typically about 20mi and with gentle hills and dedicated bike trails.  I had to service the headsets and bottom bracket twice this season already probably due to the salty environs. It’s just something that I’ll have to add the the maintenance list, which I have automated by the way and made perpetual using Apple’s Reminders – there’s so much to keep track of on this boat that there’s really no other option. Here’s the list of items done since January:

  • Welded 2 cracks on water maker bracket and welded additional bracket supports.
  • Made a small gelcoat repair port helm, lower corner – thanks again for helping with this!
  • Cleaned port head hoses – the worst job as you might imagine.
  • Performed 1,000 hr engine check: inspected belts, adjusted valve clearances, inspect remote cables, checked seawater passages and cleaned out heat exchangers, tightened major nuts and bolts.
  • Changed engine and racor fuel filters.
  • Serviced winches and windlass – all day job.
  • Lubed all pulleys, hatches, fuller.
  • Cleaned and silicon lubed all hatch gaskets.
  • Port bilge pump replacement.
  • Changed water maker 5 micron filter and tested the water maker (passed flying colors) since it hadn’t been turned on since last July.
  • Replaced the mast head wind sensor under warranty with new  B&G replacement due to intermittent readings (broken connector pin with intermittent connectivity).
  • Installed a new Mantus chain hook on the bridle – no more hook falling off the chain in the middle of the night.
  • Changed outboard sparkplugs and gear oil.
  • Port Townsend Rigging tensioned the rigging: removed about 2” from the forestay (reduced rake). New rake is 260mm measured from aft face of mast to free hanging topping lift inner edge at boom weighted with a heavy tool bag. Outer shrouds tightened until 20% breaking strength, i.e. 1.4mm stretch over 2100mm length of wood stick tapped to the shroud. Inner shrouds tightened to “firm”. Diamonds (prebend) required no adjustment. The mast base is now squarely against the mast step all around its perimeter. It used have an 1/8” gap at the leading edge of the mast base which just looked weird.  PT Rigging also said to remove the three bolts at the base of the mast to allow water drainage and reduce the risk of freezing damage – the bolts aren’t needed anyway.  Let me know you thought on this b.t.w.


I still have to change out the starboard saildrive seals but that requires a haul out, scheduled for May 2 in nearby La Conner. We took Sky Pond out for a test sail the other day to shake out all the systems and sail all points of sail, including with screacher, but there was hardly any wind so it wasn’t a good stress test.  At least it was sunny. The sun started teasing us with its appearance recently but it’s gone again now and of course it’s raining right now as I type this in the shelter of the nearby Northwest Maritime Center, sponsors of the R2AK that Rob Wright and team will be competing in.

I gotta say we’re more than ready to be done with the wet weather and to finally have more sun and to hit the mooring balls of the Canadian Gulf Islands and all points north!

The route plan for the rest of the year is:

  • May: all about the Canadian Gulf Islands.
  • June: go north up Discovery Passage to Johnstone Strait, making our way slowly to Prince Rupert before heading back down the west coast of Vancouver Island to Port Angeles by the end of August for a short break.
  • September:  SF, So Cal, Channel Islands, and finally SD by end of October.
  • November: cast off for Ensenada, Cabo San Lucas and into the Sea of Cortez where we will meet Chris French and Strike Hedonia.

Take care!

Carl and Roxy

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