S/V Hello World's Travel Log

mastless in seattle

We splashed her on Friday sans mast and she's currently sitting on F-dock in a sublet slip at Shilshole. Patiently (nooo, not really) waiting for a slip assignment from marinacrats at the office.

We're working furiously (nooo, not really) on the mast to get it prepped and ready to step. Our goal is to get her rigged and ready for an end of week re-naming party and a Labor Day maiden cruise.

Here she is sitting outside of Canal Boatyard in Salmon Bay, happily back in water.

47°40'43.37"N 122°24'25.65"W

This is “ “, this is “ “, this is “ “, over.

The ceremony was small, inter-denominational and of course followed by copious amounts of champagne and other drinks. No, we didn’t get married – we de-named the boat!

We’ve spent the last week getting the boat ready for the water, but also getting the name off of EVERYTHING. We got the last slops of paint on the boat while our boat friends (in their nicest attire) stood by and watched. As with all of our boat projects, painting ran longer than expected, but compared to some of our other projects, it really wasn’t too bad.

We broke out 2 bottles of champagne for the de-naming ceremony. I read the non-denominational prayer to Neptune, god of the sea while Jason shook up one of the bottles and proceeded to spray it everywhere, including on the both of us (yes, on purpose – he’s so romantic). We passed the 2nd bottle of champagne around the group in a small circle on the dock – no glasses required – this is a high class group. I thought we were going to drink the entire 2nd bottle, since tradition calls for only one bottle to go to Neptune. I was wrong. After the bottle made one round, Jason poured the rest into the water – again to appease Neptune. If I had known that were going to happen, I would have taken a bigger sip on the first go round. That Neptune better be happy.

So, the boat is now un-named. We’ll do the renaming ceremony next week when the new letters come in – and will do a bigger party (as official Sailors, we need to uphold the stereotype of drinking). But next time, I’ll know to take a bigger sip of champagne!

Here’s the denaming prayer that I read – my favorite is the last line (John Vigors Interdenominational Boat Denaming Ceremony):
In the name of all who have sailed aboard this ship in the past and in the name of all who will sail aboard her in the future, We invoke the ancient gods of the wind and sea to favor us with their blessing.

Mighty Neptune, King of all that moves in or on the waves; Mighty Aeolus, guardian of the winds and all that blow before them; We offer you our thanks for the protection you have afforded this vessel in the past . We voice gratitude that she has always found shelter from tempest and storm and enjoyed safe passage to port.

Now we submit this supplication that the name whereby this vessel has hitherto been known [old name here] be struck and removed from your records. Further, we ask that when she is again presented for blessing with another name, she shall be recognized and accorded once again the self same privileges which she previously enjoyed.

In return, we rededicate this vessel to your domain in full knowledge that she shall be subject as always to the immutable laws of the gods of the sea and the wind.

In consequence whereof, and in good faith, we seal this pact with libations offered according to the hallowed ritual of the sea.

The ceremony - and champagne

Uh, yeah, that's champagne on my head - added to the paint that was already there

Drunken sailor

47°40'37.25"N 122°24'38.06"W

max prop

(This post is chock full of boat nerdery. If that's not your thing, feel free to move on. It won't hurt my feelings. No really, I'm fine. There's just something in my eye, that's all. I'm fine. I'M FINE.)

Like all things Italian, the Max Prop is beautiful, complicated and a real pain in the ass. Unlike a fixed propeller which is a monolithic hunk of bronze, the max prop feathers it's blades while sailing to reduce drag and when under motor re-aligns the blades depending on whether you are in forward or reverse to give you the optimal bite in the water. This is accomplished via some engineering witchcraft of intermeshing gears and parts. Re-assembling a max prop is like re-assembling a transmission. From the space shuttle.

Fortunately, the good folks at PYI - who distribute Max Props - are located up in Lynnwood just north of us so I hauled the pieces of my prop up there in a bucket. I spent a half an hour talking with Fred who seems to genuinely enjoy educating people about this bit of equipment. The main reason for my visit was a part called the central cone gear that looked a bit worn, causing some play in the prop blades. Fred confirmed that it was a bit sketchy and went off to the bin of central cone gears he has laying around. After a few minutes, he resurfaced at the top of the bin with a slightly less used cone gear, plugged it back in to the prop and Bob's yer uncle! Good as new. Well, almost. It'll probably need some re-conditioning in the upcoming years but nothing we need to get really worried about. His total charge: nada. These guys at PYI are nothing short of wicked cool. I'm very impressed after this visit.

Here's some tips Fred gave me that I'll pass on to y'all. I know you're all wondering what you're going to do with your max prop. Don't worry, I gotcha covered.

1. When pulling the Max Prop off the prop shaft, before you do anything else, feather the blades and then draw a straight line on the outside of the prop from the forward end up onto the body of the prop itself (say, near the bolts holding the two outer body halves in place). This will tell you what the prop is currently aligned to. You need to know this alignment when you re-install the prop. Skipping this step sucks. Ask me how I know.

2. When pulling the hub off the prop shaft, expect to use alot of force. Our Max Prop was previously installed by Zeus, God of Thunder and Lightning and Really Really Tight Prop Installs. I have a tendency to be mechanically insensitive (my motto: Why Use a Scalpel When I Got Me This Here Backhoe?!) so I bought a gorilla of a gear puller to get this thing off and even I started to get concerned with the amount of force I was using to remove it. After tossing all common sense aside and throwing some anger into the gear puller, the max prop hub came off in an explosion of bronze and tools. Which leads us to tip #3:

3. Loosen the nut on the end of the prop shaft but don't back it all the way off. Apparently, when these things come off they have a bit of energy stored up. Keeping the nut on the prop will prevent the explosion you'll otherwise create in tip #2.

4. When re-installing the prop, slide the hub on the shaft without the key. Mark a line on the shaft how far up the shaft the prop went. Pull it off, put the key in place and re-install the hub. If the hub doesn't slide up to the line you drew, you need to file down the key until it does.

5. A little bit of my advice. Write down the X-mark and Y-mark letters in your maintenance log. Somewhere, down the line you're going to want to remove and re-install and having these settings handy is key to get back to your original pitch.

In the feathered position, ready for sailing.

In the forward position, ready for motoring.

In the reverse position, ready for motoring backwards.

the story of christy and jason

(From xkcd.com by Randall Munroe.)

boat friends

Having boat friends is humbling. Fisher, Ben and Gina gave up what was an incredible weekend and a handful of weeknights to put in time doing dirty, tiring, hot scutwork on our boat. Saying "thanks" never seems to cut it but I'll say it anyways.


Work is progressing. But like everyone tells us, boat maintenance items have a funny way of presenting themselves. We ran across a few unplanned issues that took over the weekend. Still haven't gotten the bottom painted, try as we might. But the sunsets have been incredible so who can complain about that???

We found a void in the fiberglass on the bottom of the keel about 1 inch by 3 inches. From what we can tell, a rock must have hit the void on the delivery up from Mexico and broke it open. Thankfully, Fisher had just spent a bunch of time repairing a few blisters on his boat so he walked us through the repair. We exposed the fiberglass and ground out the void to a shallow indention. We painted a thin layer of West System epoxy and followed that with epoxy filler thickened with colloidal silica. We sanded that down this morning and will follow it up with a barrier coat and then a layer of ablative bottom paint.

We removed the prop and polished it. We're waiting to see if we need to replace one of the gears inside the MaxProp before we re-install.

Christy and Ben repaired the damage to the gelcoat on the starboard topsides.

We also did all sorts of work on de-naming the boat. Tradition says the old name cannot be found anywhere on the boat. Well as it turns out, the previous owner was a bit zealous about applying the name of his boat. On everything. Propane tanks. Jerry cans. Anchors. Base of the mast. Dinghy seats.

Speaking of thanks, Ben took all of these pictures. The guy does some incredible stuff with basically a point and shoot camera. Thanks Ben!! I re-hosted his pics on our smugmug gallery here but if you'd like to see them in the original Flickr format, go here.

47° 39' 33.62"N 122° 22' 14.04"W

life on the hard

We hauled her off the truck Monday morning. She's currently sitting on jack stands looking out over the Fremont Cut and the Ballard Bridge.

We haven't gotten any work done because we've been too busy inviting friends over to come look at her and "oh by the way, let's have a drink!". Real work starts tonight. We need to get her de-named by the weekend and have our de-naming ceremony so we can do the real work of re-naming her. We have seacocks to lube (hehehe), a hull to wash, gear to offload into our garage until we get a little more organized, bottom paint to buy and put on, and a football field long punchlist of mast maintenance. Our friend Ben has offered to come over and help with the prep work which kicks a metric ton of ass. We've got alot to get done, ugh.

Up until this point, it's always felt like someone else's boat. But as I stood in the galley mixing pain killers* for Ben, Gina and Christy it hit me. This is our boat. Our. Boat.


We stayed on board last night just 'cuz. It was the first time we've slept in the forward stateroom and I don't mind tellin' ya: it's outright comfy.

*pain killers = rum + any tropical fruit juice = yum

47° 39' 33.62"N 122° 22' 14.04"W


My industry -programming- is fairly young and largely void of tradition. We don't get tatoos. There's no ceremony to be performed when you've written code on both sides of the equator. We don't smash champagne bottles on brand new database servers before plugging them into the rack.

That being said, one notable tradition stands out. This tradition dates back to the early 70's in a tutorial on the programming language B. When learning (or teaching) a new programming language, the first thing you do is write a small snippet of code that outputs a simple message to the screen. When you run your code and receive the message output to the screen, you know that the basic elements of the environment you're working in is setup correctly. You can then move on to more esoteric and frustrating problems to troubleshoot. The contents of that message is always the same:

hello world!