Autumn rainbows.

Yesterday was the autumnal equinox.  It turned out to be a lovely evening for a beer can regatta on the lake.   I took Nirvana out with Lori and Kurt as crew.  Marty took Stand by Me out with Monte and Kevin as crew.  There were four other boats as well.  We were treated to a pretty double rainbow as a rainstorm skirted us to the southeast.   When we crossed the finish line in fourth place, it was against the backdrop of a beautiful sunset.  A fun sail!

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Photo credit to Lori.

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Barton Springs, Lake Travis, and a shanghai’ed uncle.

Days 3, 4 and 5 of our visit with family brought a trip to Barton Springs, Sno-beach snocones, a brewery crawl, an overnight at anchor on the boat on Lake Travis, and pizza night.  The weekend was filled with swimming, diving and floating.   A brother-in-law from Houston drove to Austin and he spent the night with us on the boat – whether he knew he was going to or not 🙂

I love the chance to spend this time with family.  Keeto will be devastated when everyone leaves tonight.

This is a shot from the southern end of Barton Springs pool, looking north to the Austin skyline.  The background has changed much since Mary Doerr captured the same vantage point years ago – the Capitol building is now obscured by skyscrapers.  But the pool in the foreground is exactly the same.

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Her third Fourth.

Our niece, Laura, has been visiting us for the last few days.  Yesterday afternoon we headed out to the lake to spend the night at our marina with a group of friends.  Today we enjoyed a great sail up and down the lake.  We figured that this is the third 4th of July that Laura has spent with us on Lake Travis.   I’m looking forward to the next one.

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Bird on a wire.

We spent a fun weekend on the lake.  Sunday morning, I was greeted by 7 or 8 little barn swallows grooming themselves on the lifelines and jib sheets of the boat next to us.  I stole this shot of one in the morning sun.  It’s hard to get a good photo of these little ones because they usually dart around and never light on anything close by.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Ladies’ sail. 

Yesterday I took Julie and six of her girlfriends out for a day on the lake for her birthday.  We sailed to the cove and then anchored.  Sunbathing, floating, grilling, music, dancing and laughter ensued.   I enjoyed a beautiful day with a lovely group of young women.

(photo manipulated with iPhone app Brushstroke)

Turnback!

It’s Memorial Day weekend, and you know what that means!   Yep, the annual Turnback Canyon Regatta; a two day sailboat race up the river from the Austin Yacht Club to Lago Vista and back.  We didn’t race, but our friends Kurt, Kevin and Gordon did, so we cruised up and anchored overnight with them.   There is a festival on-shore with live music and food, and it’s just a fun weekend overall.  Marty & Sue and Lori & Mike joined us, which made it all the more fun.   Memorial Day weekend is when we all say it is time to get in the water.  Lake temps were about 74 degrees, so we all jumped in.   It only gets warmer from here on out.   Good times await.

It was a tad humid and hazy, but any day on the water is a good day.

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The view anchored off of Bar K Park for the night.   We tried to count all the masts, but never we ended up with the same number twice.   Consensus was anywhere from 40-45 sailboats.

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From the Sunday sail home.   I count 32-ish sails in this one shot.

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Baker’s dozen.

We went sailing today with Kurt.  It was breezy and sunny and cool.   Like a spring sail should be.

We pulled into the recently reopened Gnarly Gar restaurant to check out their slips.  We found one that fit our boat, and went in for a cocktail.  We ran into this mallard mom and her 13 baby ducklings.

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Super hunter’s moon 2016.

I enjoyed playing with my big-girl-camera while photographing the moon last night.  The first one was right after it rose above the horizon, and the second was shot a while (and many frames) later.  I was especially pleased that I got a good shot or two given that I took them from the boat.  It’s a magical time for a moon dance….

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Scenes from the weekend.

We rafted up with Marty & Sue in Bee Creek over the weekend.  No wind, but we had beautiful weather.

We were treated to an exceptionally stunning sunset Saturday evening.  This photo is not edited; the colors really were that amazing.

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And in the morning we were surrounded by hazy fog rising off the warmer-than-air lake water.

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Twas beautiful, indeed.

Boat repair.

A week or so ago, we were at anchor and rafted-up in a cove with another boat when we experienced the largest boat wake we have ever seen on Lake Travis, courtesy of a motorhead who is ignorant of the damage that his wake causes other boats and docks along the lake.  We never saw him, but his wake caused our two boats to smash into eachother, resulting in our port-side gate stanchion breaking.

The next day I got on the phone with Catalina Direct and ordered a replacement.  That was the easy part.  The fun-part remained:  figuring out how to access the nuts & bolts below deck to make the repair.  Suffice to say that it was not a Catalina 320 design point to make access to the stanchion bolts easy or straightforward.  The Catalina 320 owners’ association discussion forum was a helpful resource, with some threads describing the repair.  I decided to document our experience, along with some photos, in the event it helps another sailor down the line.   This is a two-person job, as screwing and unscrewing the nuts requires one person above deck, and one person below.  Oh, and the below deck person needs to be small enough and able to contort his/herself in a very confined space for the duration.  This repair took about 4 hours.   While this post documents replacement of a port-side gate stanchion, I imagine it would be a similar experience for replacing any other stanchion, but the location will dictate a different set of steps to gain access.

In the photo below (new part on the left, broken part on the right)  you can see that the threaded rod of the port-side gate stanchion’s aft leg was broken off at the deck.  It’s actually a great design, in my opinion, because even though the stanchion was bent significantly enough inboard to pop the weld on the threaded rod, there are no outboard through-deck bolts to damage the deck by being pulled out when the damage occurs.  Another thing worth noting is the width of the “h” on the new stanchion was about an inch less than the old one.  You can kind of see that in the photo.  But we were able to remedy that by a gentle, but firm, pull on the legs to spread them enough to make the bolt holes line up with those on deck.   Don’t forget to order the new nuts/bolts/washers that are recommended in the listing for the stanchion on the Catalina Direct website.  They have to be ordered separately.  Our old bolts were bent pretty good, and the washers were cupped a bit.

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The life lines on our 320 connect forward at the bow pulpit.   Easy enough to remove for the repair.

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Now for the fun part.  On a 320, the bolts for the aft leg of the gate stanchion are located behind the aft galley cabinet.  The bolts for the forward leg are behind the middle galley cabinet, where the microwave sits.  You’ll want to open both of them up to gain access.   I recommend taking the divider wall between the two cabinets out as well to make maneuvering a little easier.  There is a molded fiberglass cable chase/run behind the wood trim inside the cabinets.  You will need to cut away part of that to access all the bolts.  A previous owner of our boat had cut some of it away for some other repair or installation.img_1147

When I first opened things up to see what I could see, this is what I saw in the aft cabinet.   Some of the fiberglass panel had been cut away already, but not enough for this repair.

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I used a Dremel tool to cut away another 4 inches or so.   BE CAREFUL to not damage the cabling behind the fiberglass panel!  Also, take precautions to not work around live electric cables, to avoid damage/death to yourself.     I also recommend eye protection and wearing a mask to protect yourself from breathing in the dust while making the cut.   And, beware, that cut fiberglass edge is sharp.img_1142

This is an upclose view of the 3 bolts for the aft leg of the gate stanchion.   The big one is the broken outboard threaded rod.  The 2 inboard ones are the smaller through-deck bolts for the aft leg.  I had to lower the cabling that was fastened below deck to get access to the bolts.  I found that there was no clearance below the threaded rod to allow me to use a socket of any kind.  So I had to use a wrench to turn the nut, little by little.  As I did, the top of the broken-off rod rose slowly above the deck, eventually enough to be able to put a vicegrips on it above deck, to keep it from turning as I removed the nut the rest of the way.   I also will note that the recommended bolt/nut/washer kit that we ordered contained new stainless bolts for the inboard holes of the aft leg that are about an inch longer than the old ones.  That might make using a socket difficult, if you don’t have a deep enough one.

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This picture shows all 5 bolts – the 3 of the aft leg, and the 2 of the forward leg.  It also shows how nice it is to not have the dividing wall between the cabinets there.  It made reaching through with tools easier.img_1143

We first removed the inboard bolts of the aft leg.   Monte unscrewed the bolt above deck, while I held the nut below.

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This is a shot of the deck with all the bolts removed, and the old adhesive scraped away.   We used fresh marine adhesive, liberally covering the area of each foot.  All that remained was to install with the new hardware.

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Voila!  repair complete.

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