About: Marilyn




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Posts by Marilyn

Passage Back to the Pacific NW

Rainshadow has done another long passage, this time from Hawaii back to the Pacific Northwest. The most common question we get is, why sail her back across the North Pacific to where we already spent so many years cruising?

Getting a 49 y.o. boat ready for a passage

Rainshadow has undergone a refit while moored in our current Hawaii homeport. But Hilo is where wind goes to die so it’s past time for Rainshadow to have a new homeport, which means another passage.

Replacing the Cockpit Canvas

The original cockpit canvas (that is, the canvas at the time of our purchase) didn’t fit well and was starting to fail. So we decided to make some design improvements and construct a new one.

Portlight Problems and Solutions

Our boat has 10 portlights, 5 on each side of the cabin. We learned on our recent passage to Hawaii that they are leaking. There are multiple reasons why.

How a 42 y.o. Nic 38 faired crossing the East Pacific

Rainshadow safely took us on our first passage from the Seattle area to Hilo Hawaii, but not without some failures. Here’s the list of things that broke while we were underway.  [Editor’s note Dec 2022: I have updated this original posting with how we addressed each failure.]

2016 Passage to Hawaii: Days 20-28

This is the final segment about the saga of our first passage. Short version is – we made it. Long version is told here.

2016 Passage to Hawaii: Days 10-19

At this point in the passage, we are in the Horse Latitudes – that is between 30-40 N. Exhaustion is really setting in, and we are not jovial.

2016 Passage to Hawaii – Days 0-9

We finally did it! We made the “Left Turn” that sailors in Puget Sound talk about over beers with fellow sailors, and while sitting at home poring over old Pilot Charts and Jimmy Cornell’s World Cruising Routes. That “Left Turn” means we sailed to Neah Bay at the west end of the Strait of Juan […]

Repairs and Updates Spring 2016

For months as we considered our upcoming passage from Seattle to Hilo, we worked on a list of things that HAD to be done before we set off. The list varied in size throughout the spring, but once we reached the boat, pragmatism and schedule reduced the list to a more manageable size. Here is […]

Southeast Alaska Cruise Summer 2015

Yes, we finally made it all the way to Southeast Alaska. We traveled through B.C. as fast as we could on the northbound trip, reaching the Alaskan border in 3 weeks – we cleared US customs on June 21st.

Repairs and Updates 2014-2015

  In the spring of 2015, we left our land-based home in Hawaii and returned to the Pacific Northwest.

B.C. Cruising 2014

This was an odd cruising year because we split our summer cruise into two pieces so we could spend July as landlubbers with our families. It meant we meandered during our cruises rather than having a destination – as if we ever do have a destination, but this year was even more meandering than usual.

Repairs and Maintenance Summer 2014

We headed from our winter home to the boat in May, and spent some time doing repairs, both at the marina and while underway on our 1st summer journey to Barkley Sound. Here’s the list of repairs/improvements:

Haulout 2013

Rainshadow spent a month on the hard at Sea Marine in Port Townsend starting in late September so we could complete the following maintenance tasks:

BC Summer Cruise 2013

We had a delightful summer cruise – another 1500-something mile journey along the British Columbia coast. Each year we gain more comfort with living on the boat, and each year we wish to go further than the summer weather window allows us to go.

Down Season Repairs 2012-13

Even though we left Rainshadow by herself while we spent the winter in Hawaii, we still made quite a few improvements at the end of the 2012 cruising season and the start of 2013 season. Here’s the list: – Had the fuel injectors rebuilt and checked valve adjustment. Engine continues to run great. – Replaced […]

Summer Cruise 2012

Summer 2012 was a great 3 month trip along the central BC coast, travelling 1500 miles in all. It was the summer of many firsts.

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Replacing the Engine Mounts

If you need to replace the engine mounts on your Perkins 4-108, here’s the simple answer:  use Bushings Inc. DF 2207-2 mounts. Now, it was a lot of work to figure this out, so I am going to give the long answer too.

Overwinter 2011-12 Improvements

Rainshadow overwintered at her slip at the Port of Poulsbo. It’s a good slip, but we were spoiled rotten having our boat only a 1/2 mile walk away prior to this – now it’s a 35 minute drive each way. Anyway, it didn’t stop us from making a lot of improvements this winter/spring.

Cruising the South Coast of British Columbia – Late Summer 2011

The Pacific Northwest is fantastic cruising grounds. Many people say this, but prior to spending 6 weeks cruising the south coast of British Columbia, I didn’t really understand what they meant.  Here’s my version of what it’s like to be on a sailboat in these protected waters during late August, September and early October.

San Juans and Gulf Islands – 2011 South Coast BC

In my mind, the San Juan and Gulf island groups are similar, though the San Juans are in the US and the Gulf Islands are in Canada.

Strait of Georgia – 2011 South BC Coast Trip

The Strait of Georgia is about 140 long (stretching NW to SE) and about 20 miles wide.  Unlike in the island groups, there are not many convenient anchorages available, so you must travel some distance between overnight stops. If the wind kicks up there are big waves and swells, so this is an area where […]

Johnstone Strait – 2011 South Coast BC Trip

The typical summer weather forecast for Johnstone Strait is “Strong wind warning. Light wind, becoming NW 15-25 knots in the afternoon and building to NW 25-35 in the evening.” I guess most days there is a chance that a strong onshore flow will be funneled down the ~80 mile long strait. The resulting waves can […]

Broughtons – 2011 South Coast BC Trip

Once you reach the Broughtons, you no longer feel like your sailing in someone’s backyard. This island group is dominated by nature, with the occasional human settlement.

Desolation Sound – 2011 South Coast BC Trip

We hid in the Desolation Sound area for more than a week while a series of intense low pressure systems repeatedly caused storm force and hurricane force winds on the central coast. Because Desolation Sound is 100 miles or more from the central coast, we mostly just experienced gusty wind and some heavy rain – […]

Family Sailing Adventures

My Dad, the Midwest farmer, just visited for 2 weeks. We had lots of adventures associated with Rainshadow.

Replacing the White Metal Bearing

Nicholson 38’s do not have a cutlass bearing, they have a white metal bearing in a stern tube. This works well as long as you keep it well greased, and that’s why there is a stern tube greaser integrated into the stuffing box. But after 37 years, the white metal bearing was worn enough, you […]

Galley and Water Improvements

Fresh water has been a problem for us so far. The built-in fiberglass tank was badly affected by venting blisters, and as of last summer, we weren’t content to drink water from it any more. We tried using Sanitred to fix it, which was a complete disaster!!  Never ever use Sanitred products on your boat!!!

Short Trip to San Juans

This has been a funny season so far. In our wintertime dreams, we planned to leave in May to head north. But one thing after another has held us up (some of it was work related so a reasonable excuse). When a friend from NYC called and said – “hey, we’re in Friday Harbor for […]

Summer 2011 Haulout

We hauled Rainshadow at Sea Marine in Port Townsend for a week, starting June 13th. We had a nice stay there. Sea Marine pushed a staircase along side the boat, so I could climb aboard (I certainly would not be able to climb a ladder). So we lived aboard on the hard, and worked on […]

Awaiting Spring

It’s been a long cold and wet winter. Finally, the 3rd week of April has had some reasonable sailing weather – good wind and not-so-cold temperatures (mid 50’s F). So we took Rainshadow out for a day sail, and had a wonderful time.

Trying out our new North Sails

Yes, it’s true – we bought new sails! Though our original plan was to try to make our own sails – we decided to go with the professionals. I’ll give a review of how everything went.

Gel coat cracks?

We just noticed that Rainshadow has a bunch of small cracks on the topsides near the toe rail. Yikes!

End of Summer Cruise

This cruise was special, not only because it was the end of summer cruise with great fall weather, but because it was the first trip of our new sails – yes, that’s right. Rainshadow has a new set of skirts!

Fresh Water Tank Repair

The problem was that our fiberglass fresh water tank (located in the keel under the cockpit sole, about 100 gallons volume) was blistered and had spider cracks. It was still sound, but the water quality was poor due to the styrene leaching into the water from the venting blisters. We figured we had the following […]

August Crewed Trip to the San Juans

My last posting ended with a question – will our guest crew turn out to be lubberly or salty? After nearly a week in the San Juans, the answer is – Jonathan, Lianne, Chris and Max all get high marks as sailors!

August Crew Has Arrived!

Our dear friends from the UK have arrived to join us for summer fun during the month of August. Too bad the weather is a bit grey and dodgy, but maybe it will improve.

Second Trip to the San Juan Islands

This summer got off to a slow start. Anyone from the PNW can tell you the weather was rotten till early July. And I made the mistake

Adding a Fuel Polisher

A few months ago, we had our fuel tank professionally cleaned. We vowed to keep the fuel clean so we are not stranded by our trusty Perkins when we need it most.

A Week in the San Juan Islands

We’re just back from 8 days of sailing in the San Juan Islands. It was a fantastic voyage, and full of ‘firsts’! Okay, okay, the weather just stunk. Heavy rain, grey skies, 50ish F. What happened to that nice weather of a couple weeks ago?

Adding a Maintenance Bilge Pump

This posting is about good ideas and bad ideas. Or maybe I should say good ideas with bad and good implementations.

Yamaha 8 HP Outboard Thermostat

We have a Yamaha 8 HP 2-stroke outboard for our dinghy (1999 model 8SMHX). I reported earlier about how to change its water pump impeller (here). We did that because the telltale wasn’t flowing water, and it still wasn’t after we serviced the water pump. So we took off the head cover to look at […]

Yamaha 8HP Outboard Water Pump Service

Our dinghy came with a Yamaha 8 HP 2-stroke outboard (1999 model 8MSHX). We we started it up for the first time, there wasn’t any water coming out the telltale hole so we decided it was time to service the water pump.

Our first overnight trip

Finally – the weather was right, we had time to go, and the boat was ready. And it wasn’t a Friday – you know it’s bad luck to start a trip on a Friday, as we found out when we tried an overnight a while back and our alternator failed. So this time we left […]

Some day there will be some good wind…

We are really keen to take Rainshadow out for a good sail. Today looked promising, after a few days of grey drizzle.

Now the Primary Winches Go Click, Click, Click

Winches on boats need servicing occasionally – yearly according to the manufacturers. They’ve got a lot of bearings in them, and gears if they are two-speed winches, all of which do much better with some nice clean waterproof marine grease. When you don’t service them for a while, the grease becomes like sticky tar. Then […]

Ready to go… maybe not

Yesterday, we were all set for our first overnight cruise. The engine was running, Van was ready to cast off the docking lines. He was telling me the plan, but I was preoccupied. “Are you listening to me?” he asked.

Adding a Holding Tank

It was a major project to add a holding tank – it took about 4 months and touched so many areas of the boat. But it’s finally done, and I’m happy with the outcome.

Cleaning the Fuel Tank and Polishing the Diesel

We pulled a sample of diesel from the bottom of the tank to learn about what’s going on down there. At first, the fuel looked pretty clean, but then we scraped the bottom of the tank with the sampling tube, and a bunch of gunk came up.

Cleaning the Heat Exchanger

Rainshadow’s Perkins 4-108 diesel engine uses sea water (otherwise known as ‘raw water’) to cool the lube oil and engine coolant in a two-part heat exchanger. General lore is that you’re supposed to periodically remove the heat exchanger and clean the tubes that carry the sea water through the housings. Rainshadow’s heat exchanger had never […]

Replacing the Lavac inlet hose spigot

While working on replumbing the head, the inlet hose spigot snapped off inside the Lavac Zenith toilet. Yikes! It left a piece inside, so we were left with trying to figure out how to get that piece out, and what to do about replacing it. The Lavac toilet is just too nice to abandon over […]

Up Up Up

While Luke was home from university for spring break, we decided that with his help, it was time to send Van up the mast. We had some burned out light bulbs, and Van wanted to inspect the rigging up there.

First Solo Sail

We’re having lovely late winter weather – sunny 50ish degree days, and a decent north wind, just like in summer (though its 20-30 F warmer then!) So finally, after nearly 4 months of boat ownership, we took our boat out for a proper sail – alone.

Pulling Chainplates

As Brion Toss said at this year’s Seattle Boat show, if your boat is more than 20 years old and has spent any time at all in warm climates, you have to pull those chain plates. So during that nice sunny spell we had recently, we did pull a few, and Brion was right – […]

Adding a Deck Access Port to the Propane Locker

One of the things the pre-purchase survey turned up was that the propane locker did not meet ABYC standards, in part because it did not have access via the top of the locker. Instead, it had only side access, and difficult side access at that. So we decided to do something about it.

Remodeling the V Berth

Here’s a great project that we think will really make a difference to our cruising enjoyment. It all started with our efforts to figure out where to install a waste holding tank.

Read | 1 Comment | Tags: Upgrades

What do you on your boat in the winter?

People are starting to ask what’s happening with the boat, so I figured I better make a new post.

Rainshadow’s Arrival

Thanksgiving day meant more this year, as this was the day that the wind cooperated so we could bring Rainshadow to her new home. Full crew included: Van the captain, Marilyn the favorite mate, Damien the deckhand and Luke the college-student-home-for-the-holidays swabbie. Sid & Stephanie, Rainshadow’s former owners, came down to the docks for some […]

Purchase Closing Date

Today, the deal to purchase Rainshadow is officially closed. We now are boat owners again.

Survey Haulout

We had Rainshadow hauled out for the pre-purchase survey so the surveyor could inspect the hull and rudder. This gave us a good chance to look at her bottom sides, and figure out where all the thru-hulls are. Here are some photos that show what she looks like below the waterline.

Topics of Interest

Chronological Log