Monday, August 17, 2015

Port Townsend Redux

We have been in Port Townsend since August 7 and will likely be here until the 19th.  Our main purpose for being here has been to re-rig Ka’sala and that has been going very well.  We have a slip in the PT Boat Haven, which is near the mill and industrial areas.  The Boat Haven is about a kilometre south of the old Victorian town, which is tree lined and full of beautifully restored 19th century buildings occupied by boutique hotels, gift shops and cafes.

Ariel shot of Port Townsend - Boat Haven in the foreground, Port Hudson at the far right, Point Wilson at the far left
We are happy at the Boat Haven.  It is clean, modern, well run and has all the conveniences we need such as laundry, showers, garbage disposal, groceries, chandleries, pubs and takeaways.  It is also not too expensive – currently a dollar a foot and they rent by slip size. (We are in a 35).  The one thing they do not have is free internet – you have to pay extra for that service through a private company – and that costs $10.00 a day, $30.00 a week for one device.  (We have multiple devices). 

PT Boat haven - We are past the second breakwater from the top - horizontal row, 5 down on the 2nd vertical row.  In the foreground of the haven is the haul out area, large boatyards in the back
One of the largest travel hoists I have ever seen - notice tha man to the right is shorter than the tires
Internet access has turned out to be a far greater problem for us than we realized.  Soon as we crossed the border into the US the SIM cards in our cell phones died – so no more access to data.  We figured we would buy some kind of package here with AT&T that might take us through to when we leave the US – sometime in November.  Unfortunately, the closest place to get an American SIM .card is Sequim – an hour’s drive away.  Fortunately for us, the rigging company has graciously allowed us to use their internet, but this involves sitting on a curb outside their building when they are closed and hanging out in their lunchroom when they are open.  As a result, our communications have been irregular.  We plan to go to Seattle from here and there, we should be able to get the plan we need to get our smartphones working again.  Oh, how we rely on internet access!

During the winter, Doug had contracted with Port Townsend Rigging to do the work on our mast.  As far as we know, the rig on Ka’sala is original, though we know it was taken down when she was shipped across the US from Florida to Vancouver in about 2006.  As our little ship has experienced tens of thousands of sea miles – around North America, the Caribbean, down to Mexico and two long off shore passages to and from Hawaii – we figured she was due for a new rig.  Doug decided on PT Rigging because they were the only company he could find in the Pacific Northwest who have a rotary swedging machine. He felt it would do a superior job of connecting the shrouds and stays to their fittings.

Doug working on the mast at the side

Swedger - rigging wires are placed behind the round door to the side
Inside Port Townsend Rigging - the lines are measured on the long table to the left
We had the mast pulled last Tuesday, but Doug spent a couple days before hand preparing the boat for its removal.
Crane on a truck pulled the mast off the boat
All the wires, halyards, the furler and stays wrapped and ready for removal.  Ka'sala is mast stepped, so the boot remains just forward of Doug's feet

Mastless Ka'sala - a sorry sight

Readying the mast for removal to the Rigger's shop

Justin and Doug walk the mast down the main road of the boatyard

Since then, the mast has been lying on its side beside the rigger’s building and Doug has been working on it each day – removing, cleaning up and sometimes replacing the numerous stainless steel fittings.  

At the top of the mast there are numerous things to attend to as this is where sensitive instruments such as antennas, lights and wind indicators are placed, in addition to rollers belaying multiple sheets and electrical wires within the mast.  When the mast is vertical on the boat, this type of servicing generally has to happen while swinging from a line so when it is horizontal it is a great opportunity to closely inspect and service everything on it.  As our mast is anodized aluminum there was no need to repaint.  Instead we cleaned and put a couple good coats of boat and airplane wax on it.

While Doug was doing all these things, Justin, the rigger in charge of our job, was measuring, cutting to length and swedging our new rigging wire.  

Justin working on the swedger

The stays to the sides of the mast are fairly straight forward, but the forestay is a bit more complicated because of the furling device and the backstay because of the antenna.  Doug has reattached the new stays and tomorrow the fore and aft will be attached before the mast goes back on.  Once that happens, Justin will tune the rig so it will perform optimally and safely.

Happily for us, we have not encountered any major problems or holdups in this operation.  The weather, for the most part, has been conducive to the work with only one day of rain.  The rigger is close enough that by bicycle we are there in a few minutes.  The people who work at PT Rigging are friendly, professional and helpful. However, we are looking forward to being operational again and continuing on our cruising adventure.

Ka'sala the junk heap!  We've piled everything on the carriage roof so I could put on two coats of varnish on the caprails - an easy job without all the shrouds!

While Doug has been working on the mast (well, I helped with the waxing), I have been doing the logistics.  Laundry, cleaning, shopping, cooking – things that seem pretty mundane at home are a little more complex and time consuming when you live on a sailboat!  I have also managed to touch up and get a couple coats of Cetol on the caprails.  Yesterday we plugged in to electricity and, in addition to hot water from the tap, I even got the chance to use my little vacuum cleaner!!!  (We are finding the solar panels and wind generator seems to keep the electrical systems working, but we do slowly build up a deficit over time).

We have also been able to get our American cruising license sorted out.  As I mentioned in a previous post, our clearance into the US at Roche Harbour was harried, the border protection people were overwhelmed and undermanned, and they refused to issue us a cruising licence because they were too busy.  They told us to get it in Port Townsend.  Sailors cruising in American waters need this license as it exempts them from taxes, levies and fees.  Each harbour they arrive in, they are expected to check in with border protection with their license number.  When we contacted border protection in PT we were informed we should have been issued the license in Roche Harbour – how is that for Catch 22?  However, Jeff, the customs officer who helped us, although initially annoyed, conceded that we weren’t the ones who had created the problem.   He was very accommodating and resolved the problem for us and issued us the license.  In retrospect, we realized the whole misunderstanding could have been avoided if we had called ahead to make an appointment to clear in at Port Townsend – we would certainly do this the next time.

Port Townsend hasn’t been all work and no play!  The first weekend we were here we jumped on our bikes and headed out to Fort Worden and Point Wilson for a look around.  Fort Worden is like the big sister of Fort Flagler which we had visited the week before on Marrowstone Island. 

We bicycled all over this area
Gun Emplacements 
Officers' Quarters at Fort Worden

The lighthouse at Point Wilson is now automated, but we were able to get a good look at the tidal rips nearby from the land.  
Lighthouse at Point Wilson

Sailboat in tidal rips off Point Wilson - Whidby Island and coastal mountains in background

There are bicycle lanes on many of Port Townsend’s streets and roads, as well as paths to connect them, so getting around by bicycle has been pretty easy.  We have baskets for the back which carry everything from groceries to tools.  Yesterday we decided to see where a path went that we had noticed at the far end of the boat haven.  We expected it would go as far as the mill, about a kilometre away.  Weren’t we pleasantly surprised to find we were on a multi use trail created from an old rail bed that wound its way along the ocean, through woods and small farm fields until, almost 8 miles later, it ended at Four Corners on the other side of the Peninsula?  Heavenly!

I’ve had a bit of time to browse in the shops, and we have gone out to the pubs a couple of times for the excellent draft beer and music.  The Farmer’s Market on Saturday has been a dream and reminds us of our own in Courtenay  - chock-a-block full of fresh veggies, fruit, pastries, arts, crafts, music and interesting people.

Busker at Farmer's Market - an interesting way to play a cello!

And it is to love - delicious!
Delicious beer in the lovely beach side garden at the Pourhouse

This weekend there is a classic car rally and the county fair.  There always seems to be something going on and you don’t have to be rich to enjoy it – even if our Canadian dollar is way below par!

Clock tower above the boat yard - chimes each hour

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