Sunday, December 08, 2013

Cruise #6 - Winter Wonderland

Crew : Chief Engineer Boston, Chief Rigger Cory the Kid, Acting Ensign Dabby
Mace was absent due to "making ice sculptures", not sure if that's a euphemism.

Weather : Very cold. Around 23 F at departure, it warmed up somewhat by the time we hit the Columbia. Wind : Zero, glassy water

Chief Engineer Boston eventually coaxed the Yanmar to life but we didn't hear the happy splashing noise that means the diesel is recirculating water as coolant so he shut it down and let the impeller have some time with the space heater before we tried again.

Once the hoses thawed out it was running beautifully and we were soon underway.

We saw lots of wildlife along the channel, a few bald eagles and hundreds of birds I was calling cormorant and Dabby was calling loon.

Very little traffic on the rivers today. Lots of freighters anchored but we only saw a few other boats moving.

With the wood stove and diesel heater both going it was nice and cozy down below, we took turns steering.

It was cool going to through the swinging railroad bridge, we could see all the giant gears turning. Overall a very pleasant cruise, a lot of things that could have gone wrong didn't, which was a nice change.

Monday, September 02, 2013

Team Wreck Yacht Club

I've been chronicling the new adventures of the Team Wreck flagship over at S/V Grace O'Malley on facebook. Unfortunately some key crew members are stubborn luddites who refuse to accept the good book into their hearts, so for them I will take the time to repost here.

Cruise #1 : test run

Crew : Chief Engineer Boston, Acting Ensign Dabby

The first time Grace has been out under her own power in about three years. Minor panic upon starting the engine, as water didn't seem to be recirculating. We shut it down and Boston took the water pump apart and inspected the impeller. It looked good, he reseated it, put everything together and it worked fine.

Leaving the slip for the first time was a little nerve wracking. We're on an inside dock very close to shore, with no current or wind it would be relatively simple, unfortunately there is current and wind. We made it out and back in with no incident, I'm sure it will get easier with time. I've also asked Dabby to not shout "Full reverse!!!" in my ear whenever he gets nervous.

Once out in the channel we ran the Yanmar diesel
 almost to St. Helens and then back again. Everything worked fine, a little smoke at full throttle to start but she was soon purring.

Big thanks to the Boatyard at Rocky Point, super friendly service and she was done ahead of time and $80 under estimate, amazing. Special thanks to yard manager Travis, who gave us lots of great advice.

Cruise # 2 : That's not dirt...

 Crew : Cory, Boston, Tricia, Jerry, Travis

A lovely day on the river. We raised the mainsail for the first time in a few years, or tried to, the halyard broke on the first try (must replace running rigging) but chief rigger Cory tied some clever knots and we tried again. As the sail went up a rain of dirt came down on our heads. At least I thought it was dirt until I looked closely, heavy gray lumps of clay like stuff mixed with bits that looked like the leftover pupae from insects of unusual size. Moths maybe? Whatever they were, they didn't like to eat sailcloth, which I am grateful for. I would imagine that main sails, like every other part of a sailboat, are ridiculously expensive.

The wind was barely blowing but we cruised along for most of the afternoon and had a nice swim off Kelley Pt. Might have to invest in a swim ladder, climbing up the dinghy steps on the stern is tough.

Cruise #3 : All systems go

Crew : Boston, Dabby, Captain McCarthy, Cory the Kid, Smellen

 Great wind today, we raised the genoa and were flying. It was terrific to have the Captain on board. He sailed an Alberg on Boston Harbor for many years and has a lot of knowledge (and hilarious stories) to share.

It's hard to show how far we were heeled over from the deck, but the rail got wet and a lot of stuff slid around below. Exciting!

We also deployed the new swim ladder to great acclaim, $46 well spent.

 Smellen was delightful, as always.

Big thanks to Chief Rigger Cory for all the knot tying and stuff.

Mid tack.

Cruise #4 : Fishing with Cowboy

Cruise number 4 - Sunday afternoon, crew : Dabby, Mace, Junko, Cowboy, Michelle

Warm and sunny, winds light and variable with occasional gusts to 20 knots (I'm guessing here)

We motored up the channel to the Willamette, then raised the main and motor sailed past Kelley Pt. Park. Cowboy and Michelle dropped lines rigged for salmon off the back but there was only one bite, and minority opinion held that it might have been a piling or log and not a fish.

This was my fourth time at the confluence of the Willamette and Columbia rivers and the most exciting so far. Between wind, current, giant freighters, swarms of fishing boats and jet skis there is a lot to pay attention to. With the wind gusting strongly at times and two thirds of the crew asleep or drunk, acting first mate Dabby and I decided against raising a headsail. We sailed with the main for a few hours, just getting used to the river and all the traffic. Good practice, and another mostly pleasant day on the boat.

Cruise #5 : Overnighter to Sand Island

Crew : Eric Spence, Boston, Tricia, Jaqcue, Ted

A super fun overnight trip. Dead calm early in the day, even when we made it out to the Columbia, so we set off to circumnavigate Sauvie Island. When we made it up to St. Helens a few hours before dark the wind picked up and we tacked and jibed around downriver for a while, dodging salmon boats.

Eric Spence, King of Leisure

Grace at the Sand Island dock. We were stuck on the outside so it was a bouncy night (must get bigger fenders) but we felt lucky to find a spot, the other free docks we saw were all packed.

St. Helens from Sand Island

Boston and Tricia's campsite on the river side of Sand Island.

Breakfast and bocce, good times.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday, August 11, 2013

That was an awesome Deathmarch, it turns out canoe camping is really fun. Mace has some great photos on his Flickr page.

Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Summer Death March : Canoe-tastraphe! is on for this weekend, Corvallis to Independence. We have a classic TW crew lined up - Mace, Dabby, Coach Dan and Rev. Phil. Join us if you dare!

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Summer Death March : Canoe-tastraphe!

That's right, the first aquatic Death March! Officially on the calendar for August 9-11 (and possibly much longer if anyone has time off).

I was hoping to roll this into a much larger event including elements of Chvnk, Sprokettes, etc but that event seems to have mutated into a short float from Oregon City and a very long party on Ross Island. Which would be fun, but I've been dreaming of a much longer, river exploring adventure. So I plan to put in just north of the Eugene rapids on Friday morning and see how it goes. I hope to make it to Independence or Salem and possibly as far as Oregon City. It should be fairly easy to join in for a day or two, there are lots of places to launch and cell phones should work along the river.

I realize many Team Wreck members have little or no experience with canoes, kayaks or rafts but I think that's part of the Death March experience, being a little out of your element, snowshoeing, spelunking and now this.
Portland is awash with kayaks and canoes. You could borrow one, buy one cheap on craig's list, or build a raft. I would be glad to help, I think we could build a sturdy 8'x8' raft out of plastic barrels, 2x4s, plywood and steel cables for less than $60.

Willamette Water Trail

Willamette River Guide PDF

Detailed account of a trip up the Willamette with photos

You may wish to reread Huck Finn, Kon-Tiki or The Journals of Lewis and Clark for further inspiration.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spring Death March

The Spring Death March was a lot of fun. We finally made it to Crack in the Ground and it was even better than expected. Mace took some lovely photos.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Spring Death March : Crack in the Ground - April 12-14

Mace has Friday, April 12th off so we're bumping it up a week. Leaving Portland early Friday morning, returning Sunday afternoon. Bring warm clothes and gas money.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Spring Death March

First reschedule! Looks like I'm working the weekend of March 22-24 and the Rickreall Gravel Classic is April 6 so I'm bumping the Spring Deathmarch to April 19-21.

Based on advice from integral team mate Mace I'm considering a trip to the desert, continuing our quest to visit Crack in the Ground and Hole in the Ground. We attempted this journey many years ago and had several adventures along the way, including meeting a very strange family camped by a dry lake, spelunking in ice caves, driving backwards at a high rate of speed and the now infamous tent peeing episode. We can do better! If you have ideas or suggestions please leave a comment.

February 1-3 -- Team Wreck Stuporbowl Party

The Kid and Wade are coming down to ride Blackrock and help me with some arborist work in the woods, feel free to join us.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

The Rickreall Gravel Classic

On April 6th Milkshake is throwing an 80 mile gravel race that starts and ends at the farm.

Here's the route.

For those of us that are less ambitious I'm presenting a race within the race, 20 or so miles with stops at a few wineries, ending up at the top of Eagle Crest (the easy way) in time to cheer and heckle the real racers as they make the ascent (the hard way).