Monday, August 08, 2016

Ahoy, me hearties!

Rikki-tikki-tavi has been accepted to show at the 40th Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival!

Rikki-tikki-tavi was featured at the 30th Port Townsend Wooden Boat Festival in 2006. Now, ten years on, he will be strutting his stuff at the 40th! This wonderful celebration of wooden boats begins September 9, 2016. His builder Clark, along with crew Nina, will be welcoming visitors and enjoying the festivities. Stop by and say, "Ahoy!" We'll be looking for you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Flying a New Flag

Since the year 2007, Rikki-tikki-tavi has flown as his ship's flag the original Earth Day Flag. In all our years of sailing, we have seen only a handful of other boats displaying this flag, and only in small sizes as an adjunct to a country flag. Peace activist John McConnell, who designed the flag using the famous NASA photograph of Earth as seen from outer space, proposed a day to celebrate the Earth and the concept of global peace. Earth Day was first celebrated in the US by millions of people in 1970. It is now observed in 192 countries. According to Denis Hayes, the first Earth Day organizer, it is now "the largest secular holiday in the world, celebrated by more than a billion people every year."

Now, we proudly fly the Flag Of Earth.

This beautiful flag was designed in 1970 by an Illinois farmer named James Cadle. He intended it to represent all of Humankind on Earth. James made it his life's work to promote the Flag Of Earth everywhere. He and his wife sewed the flags on their kitchen table and sold them at cost. Many amateur radio operators display the Flag Of Earth. It is flown at radio observatories worldwide. In fact, when Carl Sagan passed away, the Flag Of Earth that is flown over Ohio State Radio Observatory was lowered in his honor.

This is a photograph of the Flag Of Earth waving from the stern of our trimaran as we crossed Queen Charlotte Strait, British Columbia, Canada.

"Its anthem is the wind in her trees
And the waves of her seas."

As we cruised, everyone asked about our flag. It is very striking with its bold graphic design. Even the US Customs officers who work out of Roche Harbor, Washington, questioned us about it, as we expected they would. (Our boat is moored directly behind their floating office.) We related the history of how the Flag Of Earth came into being and received very positive responses from them. The flag earned "flying colors" from everyone who saw it and learned about it. We hope to see more of these meaningful and beautiful flags flying from the flagstaffs and rigging of boats cruising the Pacific Northwest. We are carrying the message of the Flag Of Earth as we cruise Rikki-tikki-tavi. Miss Trilly, our 1979 Trillium 4500 fiberglass trailer, will soon be getting her own Flag Of Earth. You can too! Download printable files or order your own hand-sewn Flag Of Earth. You can even get lapel pins and decals. Spread the message: We are all on this Earth together. 

Quoted from the original Flag Of Earth website:

The song of the Flag of Earth
Sung by this star of Earth,
Is at once across the universe
Unspoken and unwritten.
Looking, listening.
Dream there.
The Flag of Earth whispers to us.
                      The Flag of Earth whispers of us!
                                                The Flag of Earth is you.
                                                                     You are the Flag of Earth.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

It was a "boundary stretcher"

Rikki-tikki-tavi was hauled out of the water on October 10, 2011, at Seaview North Boatyard in Bellingham. We are very pleased with how the crew at Seaview handled our 26.5-foot wide multihull. With barely two inches to spare on each side of the slot, they carefully secured and lifted us with two straps slung from their 150-ton Travelift, having left most of the straps laying out the tarmac. The lighter weight straps were much better for us than the humongous ones used on the 300-ton lift at Port Townsend. There is much potential for hull damage to Rikki's 1/2" thick wooden sides due to their being hefty enough for hauling out weighty vessels such as tugs and barges. Seaview's smaller slings removed a great deal of anxiety for us.

As we waited for the boat to be positioned properly, with the weight being taken by the forward and aft aka, our thoughts were running wild. How long Rikki-tikki-tavi would be on dry land? We knew there was water damage, but just how extensive was it?

There were numerous benefits of hauling out in Bellingham: We would be able to retrieve our car, which is stored in Mount Vernon, and have transportation for the duration. All of our favorite stores–Trader Joe's & Costco–are nearby. There is also Harbor Freight and a wonderful, old-fashioned hardware store called Hardware Sales, we soon discovered. We would make good use of all that was available. And we were so glad it was easy to get to! At Port Townsend, we would not have had the car...

When Rikki-tikki was hanging over the asphalt in the lift, we watched as he was power-washed. At Port Townsend, we'd had to do this ourselves, getting soaked in the process. We took advantage of a Seaview special: free haulout with the purchase of Seahawk bottom paint and hull prep by the Seaview crew. 

Once situated on stands in the yard, our first problem to solve the construction of a cover over the boat to protect the deck areas that needed repair from the elements. We bought heavy duty 16' x 20' tarps at Costco to drape over the boom aft the mast and two smaller 8' x 10' tarps to cover forward of the mast, which is stepped in the center cockpit. We used PVC pipe across the boom and tied off the tarps every which way. We laid much rope over the top of the tarps to keep them from buffeting in the wind. This system worked very well–it even held on the night the wind blew for hours between 40-50 mph, gusting into the 70s! The noise was outrageous, however. Fortunately, when this wind storm happened on November 22, Nina was away in Sacramento (from November 1 to January 5) assisting her mother's recovery from knee replacement. She is very glad to not have been on the boat as it was perched atop spindly tripods. She could only check the weather station on the roof the the adjacent Bellingham Cold Storage building. With the live webcam, Nina could see exactly what Clark was experiencing from the comfort of her studio.
Under the wing, rudder & centerboard.

Needless to say, Clark had to deal with some challenging winter weather while performing repairs on our intrepid wooden trimaran. There were many frosty mornings, too, which made getting to the ladder leading down to the pavement treacherous. 

Four major areas of the topsides had to be torn out and rebuilt due to water finding its way into layers of plywood and spreading laterally much farther than one would imagine. There was also wet wood in the bottom of the rudder and the leading top edge of the centerboard where the fiberglass sheathing had been stretched apart to form a fissure where water could seep into the plywood core, despite the epoxy coating and saturation. We were rather disheartened when we discovered the extent of the damage that had occurred over Rikki-tikki's seven years of being out in the weather. This was not a short haul-out to paint the bottom and clean up the prop! Here are some photos that show a quick recap of the work...
My rather forced smile.

We were shocked and dismayed to discover water had wicked into the core of the rudder at the bottom. It has also wicked into the plywood core of the centerboard, which we had to "drop" out of its pivot pin in order to affect repairs.

It was painful for Clark to have to tear apart what he had so carefully constructed just a short while ago. He found himself asking if these kinds of repairs would be something he'd be required to do often? He certainly had not anticipated that, after only seven years, he'd be ripping things apart.

Back to dry wood.
We decided to tear back to dry wood and replace everything. All the damage appears to have been the result of failure of caulking around hardware mountings, such as the winches, a block, and the forward chainplate. We really cannot explain the infiltration of water in the rudder and centerboard other than the wood moves. It responds differently than the epoxy it is coated with and different from the fiberglass sheathing, which doesn't stretch. The sheathing separates along the weave, creating little fissures into which water finds its way. These "zippers" have occurred on edges and corners in numerous spots on the boat. Along with all the large areas needing repaires, there were a few dozen smaller areas undergoing repair simultaneously.

Rebuilt deck, coaming & winch pads.

We stressed over how to deal with what needed to be done and, most importantly, how to keep it from happening again. Rot–a wooden boat's most feared foe (besides worms). I researched online at the Web Locker nearby that had internet access while Clark began tearing into the starboard coaming and the bow.
Repainted, winches mounted on new bases.

Interestingly, I found much discussion about the value of ethylene glycol in halting fungus and rot. We ordered a quart of it to be shipped. Another benefit of being at Seaview–we could order items from Fisheries Supply and have them sent up with the Seaview truck. Clark coated the wood with the ethylene glycol once he'd torn back to where it was dry (or drier) in hopes it would help stop spores from starting an area of dry rot.

I had to leave on November 1st for my flight to Sacramento, but before I left, I stocked the boat with nonperishables so we wouldn't have to fill the Honda with stuff in April, when we returned from California for our summer season of cruising up north.
Tearing into the bow.

Torn out deck.

Rebuilt & curing under quartz work lights.
To combat the cold and give epoxy a fighting chance to cure, we purchased three heat lamps. Clark mounted them on wood based and built wire cages around them. They were aimed up underneath the deck areas that were under repair. We also bought six 250w quartz work lights. These were on constantly, day and night. It was quite a puzzle and struggle to get them aimed properly and moved from one location to the next. It was fortunate that the kilowatts we used were included in the yard fee!

May 2nd, 2012: We have left the dock and no longer have regular internet access. We find it necessary to leave the narrative at this point. Please enjoy the photos until we can finish the story for you. They are worth a thousand words, correct?

To your health!
Clark & Nina

Heat lamps and rain protection.

A lot of deck had to be replaced.

Heating the port side while it cures.
All seven quartz lights as the paint cures.

Completed port aft deck.

It began to snow on January 15th.
Soon we had about five inches of the white stuff.

Final hull color going on.
The Honda sheltered under Rikki's wing.

Going back to the water...
The trial is finally ended.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

2011 "Cruise"

The captain and first mate of Rikki-tikki-tavi enjoyed several very leisurely months in British Columbia's waters this summer. Between May 16th and September 22, we visited Princess Louisa Inlet, Von Donop Inlet, the Octopus Islands, and Annette Inlet. Between long stays at each lovely spot, we overnighted in Ballet Bay, Rebecca Spit (twice), and took a mooring for three days at Newcastle Island (Nanaimo). It was a summer to sit still, enjoy meeting friends both new and "old", and doing boat work. After seven years, our Rikki-tikki is needing some TLC. The weather was not very cooperative. Consistent sun did not arrive until mid July, so the rain slowed down our progress. We have more work to do.

We will be hauling out at Bellingham on Monday, October 10th. It will be our first experience using the Sea View yard. We are hoping the the weather is kind to us! We'll let you know how it goes.

Clark & Nina

Sunday, November 21, 2010

2010 Cruise

Mouat Cove

Rikki-tikki is now snugly tied in his spot behind the harbormaster's office at Roche Harbor, directly astern of the big catamaran named Gambit, which makes a good windbreak. Our sleek trimaran took us on a magic carpet ride all the way to Juneau AK this season. It was our goal to meet new friends and hang out when we found a stop that was particularly enjoyable.

Anan Black Bear

Back in 2007, we did a "great circle" route around Southeast, so we missed all of Admiralty Island and the east coasts of Chichagof and Baranof Islands. This year, we managed to see some new territory and enjoy some warm and sunny days while reveling in the company of new friends. We have acquired a plethora of pleasant memories. Of course, it is Alaska, meaning that there were plenty of gray, rainy days to endure too. We don't usually travel in the rain, unlike our powerboat friends who like to drive wearing their bunny slippers, the heater going and the windshield wipers keeping the view forward clear. We stay put, hunker down, pull out a book to read and wait for dry weather.

We entered Canada through our usual Customs point at Tsehum Harbor on Vancouver Island on May 1st. Rikki-tikki took advantage of his membership in the West Sound Corinthian YC to availe himself of reciprocal privileges at Sidney North Saanich YC. We visited our Seaweed friends, Loren and Sandy, at their home and enjoyed dinner with our Cloudbreak friends, Alan and Bet. Then we made a beeline to our favorite destination, Princess Louisa Marine Park. It was an 84 nm run between Pirates Cove and the dock in front of Chatterbox Falls and we had time to refuel in Edmonds, catch a nice fish for dinner. While waiting for Malibu Rapids to turn, we hovered close to shore in Queens Reach watching a black bear with her cub! For Rikki-tikki's 6th birthday, we opened the boat to the folks on the dock, all of whom we had come to know during our 5-day stay. Tearing ourselves away from the serenity of "The Princess," we turned our trimaran's three noses toward Ketchikan, running while the running was smooth.


TTFN, Clark & Nina

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Sweet Sixteen Baja Ha-Ha

Clark & Nina joined Roz & Russ Worrall aboard “Worrall Wind”, their motor-sailing ketch, for the Baja Ha-Ha. This annual cruiser’s rally is sponsored by the popular sailing rag “Latitude 38”. A record 193 boats signed up, only one of which was a power boat (gasp!). On October 26th, about 165 boats crossed the starting line at the mouth of San Diego Bay. Excitement was high, spinnakers were loosed, crews whooped & hollered as they passed the Port of San Diego’s photo/news boat. We were off and rolling (literally)! We crossed the finished line on November 5th, but continued around to La Paz a few days later, stopping along the way.

Warm sun, fresh fish, sandy beaches, new friends. Sleepless nights, big and bumpy seas, relentless rolling, bruises, spilled coffee...

Our most enjoyable memories of the journey down the west coast of Baja California are of the spectacular skies. We reveled in glowing sunsets and sunrises, softly lit clouds at dawn, a sublime full moon rising over Bahia Santa Maria, night sailing in bright moonlight, jeweled clouds over Cabo. We were fortunate to see the green flash at sunset too! We did not imagine it– several other sailors reported seeing it the same evening, including Roz. Russ unfortunately missed it.

Not so enjoyable were the rough seas of October 28th. Clark managed not to get seasick while steering, cooking, making coffee & using the head by taking Meclizine. Nina, who is very prone to motion sickness, wore SeaBands® and dosed herself every 4 hours with Dramamine. She kept her stomach busy digesting raw nuts & kept her head as still as possible by hunkering in a spot in the pilothouse with the least motion, on the centerline of the boat with good visibility of the horizon. She used the head as quickly as was possible under the conditions. Night sailing would have been sheer torture for her. It was good we decided to dive into the large bay south of Punta San Carlos. Even so, she kept up the preventive regimen even at anchor.

We had fun exploring the capitol city of Baja California Sur, La Paz, on foot. The sidewalks held much of our attention due to two things… every few yards the construction & design of the walkways would change in very artful & creative ways, and they were treacherous to navigate due to holes, elevation differences, chunks missing, and uneven surfaces. The people were very friendly & several stopped to greet us as we rested on benches. Our Spanish is nonexistent but we managed to communicate in a small way. The malecón, a waterfront promenade, is extensive and is adorned with many lovely works in bronze. It was a pleasant place to people-watch. We noticed how very few Mexicans own dogs. We saw only one, a chihuahua, on a leash, though there were a few obvious strays. All other pet dogs were attached to gringos.

In La Paz, we found the stores fascinating as we wandered down the many narrow streets. The dress of the women was quite flashy, sexy even. We looked at crafts and weavings but we purchased only provisions at the Costco in Cabo and at the Super Mercado Aramburo in La Paz. We did not buy anything to eat except a cup of coffee– no ice cream, no tortillas, no restaurant fare. We came home without any souvenirs though we do regret not being able to haul back a gigantic chunk of New Zealand butter we found at Costco! We turned just $30 into pesos & spent most of that on a taxi ride, tips, the coffee, and groceries at the mercado.

If we decide to travel to Mexico again, we will learn to communicate in Spanish. We were unable to talk to the drivers of the Marina Costa Baja free shuttle, unable to ask questions of anyone unless they spoke English. Truly pathetic. We had a little Seiko translator and it helped us figure out a few words, but it was inadequate. Next time, we will also bring fewer and lighter weight clothes!
Cabo San Lucas is inundated with families of obvious poverty hawking cheap silver jewelry, whistles, trinkets and assorted tacky items. They are positioned every few yards along every walkway & it’s difficult constantly waving them away with a polite, “No, gracias.” When we managed to get a decent number of blocks away from the hotels and the marina, this distraction was minimized. Even so, most of the goods for sale were ugly, gaudy or crass, such as the frog coin purses. We did not see this type of hawking in La Paz. There were established “booths” along some streets such as the plaza in front of the cathedral, but we only saw a couple of artists with their finely made macramé jewelry laid out along the sidewalk. Nina was tempted to purchase a necklace but we merely commented on the quality of the work and walked on.
We've published a small website about our "Month to Baja by Water" at
Rikki-tikki-tavi is patiently waiting for us in Roche Harbor. We'll return to the Pacific Northwest in the Spring.
Clark & Nina

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

May at Chatterbox Falls

Rikki-tikki-tavi began his cruising season at his very favorite spot– Princess Louisa Inlet! His crew, Clark and Nina, reveled in the serenity and beauty of this most spectacular of places while Rikki-tikki rested quietly at the dock behind Seaweed. The first two weeks were typically drizzly and misty, which only accentuated the splendor of the mountains that stream with a myriad of waterfalls. Then the sun came out! The weather was deliciously warm and bright, the skies and waters pellucid. Chatterbox Falls is the glorious centerpiece of Princess Louisa. The flow of the falls constantly changes throughout each day in response to temperatures and rainfall. Fascinating. We kayaked, harvested shellfish (which is open until May 30th), visited with cruisers, and bathed in the sun.
Nina made four hats– one for granddaughter Eva, one for Clark, a special "9ah hat" for Sandy who was having a birthday, and a sunhat for herself. Rikki-tikkii also celebrated a birthday. May 10th was the fifth anniversary of his launch into the Sacramento River! Nina scrubbed the sail cover and polished windows in preparation. Sandy and Loren contributed a bottle of champagne to our meal of prawns, pickled oysters, and steamed mussels. Clark blew out five candles inserted into cashew/coconut nut balls. It was a perfect day.
The 22nd through the 28th brought some large tidal differences with one large ebb during the day. This means that the ebb currents through Malibu Rapids were delayed significantly due to the huge volume of water exiting the inlet. Most boaters depend on the Canadian Hydrographic Tables' corrections for the timing of the slack current at Malibu, which is taken off of the tide station at Point Atkinson. The corrected time is, we want to emphasize, an average of all the current slacks over time. Folks were not taking the tidal differences into account and many entered the rapids too early only to face unexpected strong currents and turbulence. Boaters came to the dock with horror stories. Two boats actually aborted halfway through and turned around! They were traumatized along with other boaters (not only small boats, mind you!) who made it through by the skin of their teeth, so to speak. Thankfully, there were no tragedies. We want to remind those who travel the distance to lovely Princess Louisa Inlet to pay attention to the tidal differences. In times of large tides, Malibu Rapids may be up to an hour-and-a-half late on the ebb. Take care.
There are no more BC Parks mooring buoys at MacDonald Island. The anchor chains had all rusted completely through and the buoys floated freely away from their stations. We learned that three large powerboats had tied to the last two that had stopped near shore on the north side of the inlet. A Nordhavn rafted to a second yacht shared one of these overnight. Yikes! Fortunately there were no strong inflow or outflow winds during their visit.
Rikki-tikki-tavi plans to make annual visits to Princess Louisa Inlet. Clark and Nina find it the perfect starting point for a season of cruising in British Columbia. Long live "The Princess"! Thank you, Mac. Photographs copyright 2009 Nina Courtney Wagaman and Clark Wagaman. All rights reserved.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Tucked in for the Winter

We left Rikki-tikki-tavi safely moored at Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, for the winter. Headed south like Snowbirds, we stopped to spend time with friends in Mount Vernon, Washington. On our way through Oregon, we enjoyed a pleasant visit with family in Estacada. We all drove up to Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood and had lunch. With car-camping in Southern Utah on our minds, we then sped on home to Sacramento.
Rikki-tikki-tavi at Roche Harbor
Nina with Aunt Ruth and Uncle Lynn

Enjoy your winter, everyone!

TTFN, Clark & Nina

Friday, April 25, 2008

Princess Louisa Inlet

Hello, Friends!

We spent over three weeks at Princess Louisa Inlet this spring. Here is a short description of one of the days.

Clark and I visited with Kathy and Noel aboard Integrity II. They are quite an interesting young couple. She’s a glaciologist from the UK who worked at Antarctica studying the movements of the ice shelves. He was a navigator with the British merchant marine from Ireland who was aboard the supply ship to Antarctica. They have a photo album with images of their boat in Taiwan under construction back in 1965. Their little ship is a Mason 38 ketch that was built as a private cruiser but the owners decided to sell her and make a business of building additional boats instead. They worked on the boat in Nanaimo for nearly two years, had a engine shipped over from the UK. It’s a very well-built boat and appears quite capable to taking them to Hawaii and the Marshall Islands, as is their plan.

Talisman approaching the Princess Louisa dock.

After our visit, I showed Kathy how to identify wild cucumber, gathered some for ourselves, then we got ready to move to a bouy at MacDonald Island. Seaweed was already there. Loren and Sandy left the dock yesterday. We ran the watermaker on the way, going very, very slowly. The rain stayed away and we took the long way around the island to get back to mooring #3. Then we went ashore to gather some shellfish– oysters and Littleneck clams.

After dinner, we rowed over to Seaweed for a couple rounds of cribbage, which is new to us. Sandy and Loren are the most pleasant people. They make no demands on your energy, mentally or otherwise. Lovely. They helped Nina learn the game with great patience and made the experience pleasurable. Sandy made a chocolate dessert with the Carnation canned “thick” cream that she’d shown us. She used nsweetened cocoa powder and Splenda for sweetening. It was tasty!

It was beginning to sprinkle as we went back to Rikki-tikki in the dark.

TTFN, Clark & Nina

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Back in BC

Hello, Friends,
We checked Rikki-tikki-tavi back into Canada at Prince Rupert on Wednesday, August 22nd, after three months cruising in Southeast Alaska. We saw glaciers, grizzlies, whales, wolves, sea otters, eagles, and puffins. We enjoyed spectacular sunsets, endured zero-visibility fog, met wonderful people, caught salmon and halibut. Our blog is a bit behind, we know. Please enjoy this photo of Johns Hopkins Glacier while we catch up!

We promise more to come...
Clark & Nina


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