Weems & Plath – $550 new instruments 

I had 5 W&P instruments and none of them agreed with each other. I could reset each one in the morning and by the next morning they all disagreed again.

I shipped the old instruments to W&P so that they could replace them with the correct size.

My new instruments are GORGEOUS!

New set of instruments - clock, barometer, comfortmeter

New set of instruments – clock, barometer, comfort-meter in Nav station


NEW clock and barometer at foot of my bed

NEW clock and barometer at foot of my bed

CF Numbers – $50

Last year’s 2013 HaHa was a complete debacle (I read) and 384 boats were impounded by the Mexicans for various minor infractions, involving major fines. Some of the boats were still impounded in Ensenada many months after the first leg of the HaHa had completed.

Seems the biggest “infraction” was no boat numbers. My boat is not a CA boat, but is Coast Guard documented, and thus does not need a CF number displayed. Nevertheless I decided to err on the side of caution and bought TWO sets of numbers and glued on one set, per the legal requirements for multi-hulls – which is nothing like the requirements for monohulls.


Numbers have to be on the back of the starboard ama, on a mulithull

Numbers have to be on the back of the starboard ama, on a mulithull

Halyard Hangars – $132

Annie and I did a trial run to Catalina this month to reacquaint ourselves with FastAlley. Since the Baja Haha is just a few weeks off, we felt a good sail was in order. I found that with all the reefing lines, and the halyards, and the self-furling lines, we had a great deal of rope all over the cockpit. I decided the time had come to get some halyard hangars that I had seen demonstrated at the Long Beach Boat Show. They are very easy to install and now the cockpit is neat and tidy with all the lines hung up and out of the way.

BEFORE mess of lines loose and bagged in breaking tote

BEFORE mess of lines loose and bagged in breaking tote

IMG_2926                                    AFTER – lines neatly stowed, dying bag removed!

Lesson Learned

On the way to Catalina we got really beat up. The wind was whistling and throwing up chop and when I tried to reef, I fouled the gear instead (I really did need the practice!). I had not laid the jacklines because I was stupid! Which meant it was too dangerous to go upfront and try to manually haul the sails down. Eventually we realized that beating into the weather to reach the Isthmus was tiring and could result in my fouled Dutchman gear breaking under the strain of the gusts (25 – 30 mph), so we turned and ran for Whites Landing. Going downwind was a pleasure!!! It was so calm that I easily went up front and hauled the main down without a qualm. FastAlley is SUCH a pleasure going downwind that Annie and I decided that if we have to go to weather to reach a destination, then we really don’t want to visit that place. We also decided that during the day we would sail under full mainsail, but towards dusk we would reef and sail in the dark with one reef in. Then we wont have to worry in 30-40 knots of wind – at least, I hope we wont – and we also wont have to reef in a blow, in the dark!


Cargo Net – $22

In the middle ama, in the nose of the ama, I had some plastic storage bins and all my tools in 2 tool bags. The interesting thing is that while FastAlley was bashing head on into the waves, I expected to go below and find all the nose stuff strewn around the head/bathroom area. Amazingly with all that bashing, not a thing moved.

However, the force of the bashing seemed to be all transferred to the rear of the boat. I hadn’t realized that would happen so all my spares that are neatly labeled and stored behind my bed, all crashed to the floor and spilled their contents. I spent a few hot hours resorting and repacking the spares boxes. Then I decided to buy a cargo net (like those used on the back of pickup trucks) and using large hooks, I secured the net over all the boxes. Hopefully we wont be bashing into any more waves, but if we do then the spares should all stay in place!


Cargo net holding in boxes of spares

Cargo net holding in boxes of spares

Storm gear -$145

After Catalina, I decided that I needed to upgrade my storm gear. I bought much larger shackles for securing the bridle, I bought a large orange ball to attach to the parachute so that I could more easily spot where it was lying in the crests and troughs, and I bought a line to secure the parachute to the orange floater. My parachute does not have a trip line, also the DDDB has numerous instances where the trip line has tangled and tripped the parachute, leaving the boat hurtling down the next wave. Annie and I will put together a process that is easy to deploy and easy to retrieve.


DDDB – $34 second hand

On the advice of world cruisers, I bought the Drag Device Data Base manual and read thru the Trimaran sections. There was one section where the sea anchor was dropped off the nose, and one section where the drogue was dropped off the stern. I have both the sea parachute and a drogue, and was not sure which to use.

After reading DDDB it is clear that the parachute off the nose is the answer. The drogue off the stern (which I had intended to use) wont work on FastAlley because she doesn’t have cleats on each stern ama for attaching the drogue. And sailors that attached the drogue to the middle ama almost came to grief, until they cut away the drogue.

So the nose parachute it is. Annie is coming down next month (September) and together we will right the parachute. We have decided to have it ready to be deployed in the cockpit. If we don’t need to deploy it, great! If we need to deploy it, then it is all ready and waiting to be tossed over.


Prop Protector – $305

I researched the various methods of having a cutting tool on the shaft behind the propellor in order to slice away any rope that may tangle the prop. There are a number of these on the market and I watched the videos on the University of YouTube. There are cutters for fast vessels, large vessels, and heavy vessels.  FastAlley is none of these – she is lightweight, slow (7mph), and not very large.  After reading reviews on the web, I decided on the Prop Protector. It will get installed behind the propellor the next time I have FastAlley’s bottom scraped.  It is fixed to the prop shaft and rotates as the shaft rotates.  Here’s hoping that when I drive over a lobster pot, that it lives up to its reviews!

Prop protector

Port & Starboard lights – $0

After Catalina, I checked my lights and found that once again my fuses had blown. We had taken so much water over the bow that I was worried that they had fused. Luckily we weren’t traveling at night, but sailed there in daylight and back in daylight so it was not a concern while at sea. I was discussing having to replace my lights with another sailor and he said that he found it wasn’t that the light was defective, it was that there was a hole that let the water in and thus blew the fuse. He suggested I take them apart and check them before lashing out $$s for new ones. So I took them apart. And lo and behold, where the wire entered the light, there was air space. And just for good fun, there was another pinhead hole in the back too. I covered the whole light piece in silicone – just globbed it everywhere. Then I replaced the fuse and waited for 24 hours for the silicone to dry. The next day I threw buckets and buckets of seawater at both lights and waited for the dark. That night, I switched on the running lights and they glowed red and green! The next day I threw more buckets of water on them, and that night they glowed warmly again. Problem solved with just some silicone.


Flags – $18

The American flag that I inherited with the boat is very sad and broken, so I bought a beautiful new one with real stitching and real embroidered stars.

I also made a quarantine flag with my trusty sewing machine. At the last boat show I got a very large bright yellow T-shirt from BoatUS for buying their towing service. Its way too big for me, and also is not a very feminine color, however, that yellow is perfect for a quarantine flag. So I cut off the front, threw away the back, stitched it up in a more or less square, and put grommet in it to fly from my flag line.


Preventer lines – $80

When on a broad reach, there is no formal way to hold the boom secure in order to prevent an accidental jybe. However, I do have 2 pad eyes, one on the front of each side ama which are used when anchoring and using the bridle. I bought 2 very long lines of about 55ft each and ran them from the cockpit forward through the padeye, then back to the cockpit. I fed one end thru my spare brake and put a shackle on the other end. Now when the main comes over, in a controlled jybe, I will attach the shackle to the boom, and let it out to a broad reach, then pull the line secure thru the brake. This will hold the boom in its broach reach configuration and act as a preventer which should hopefully prevent the boom flying across the deck.


Weather Station – $2

The weather station has a habit of showing the wind speed intermittently. It would be useful to know what the wind speed is, instead of guessing the way I have done so in the past. I decided to take a closer look at the base and disconnected it from the board. Turns out that replacing the 9v battery seems to solve the problem. I cant be sure yet, but it’s a simple fix if that’s the only issue.





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