Monday, April 30, 2012

Back to work

The cameras have been back in action.

I spent April 21-22 volunteering with the 2012 MS150 Houston to Austin ride. Our team was looking pretty sharp this year.

2012 Technip Titans MS 150 Team

The Technip cooking team was in La Grange, and, they really outdid themselves. The riders appreciated the chicken, pork chops, boudan, steaks and ribs -- and so did I!

2012 MS 150 La Grange

Wednesday night we were throwing rocks at the Junior Achievement Bowl-A-Thon in Katy, Texas.

Stars & Strikes

Even Wonder Woman stopped by for the event.

Stars & Strikes

Then Sunday, it was up, up and away as we flew out over the Gulf of Mexico to take some photos of the big boats at work.


Hopefully that gives you guys a break from all the Starwind boat repair photos I've been posting lately.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Back to work

I've been posting quite a bit about the boat, but I've been lagging on photography news. I've been shooting the usual stuff for work, headshots, project teams, award photos, etc., but I haven't gotten to shoot anything that I would tout as exceptional lately. Well, it's back to work this week. If schedules hold I should be in a helicopter over the Gulf of Mexico shooting several vessels working offshore by Sunday. Then it's back to Houston for the Offshore Technology Conference. Then it's off to Florida for 10 days of fun on the beach. Expect to see something OTHER than the boat popping up here soon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

No more jokes about my dirty bottom!

It's been almost three years since we bought the Starwind 27. With all of her systems working, it was time to bite the bullet, spend the money and address the big unknown -- what did her bottom look like?

I'd had a diver spend a day cracking a corral reef off of her in January, so the sea life wasn't too overwhelming when she was hauled last week. That's not to say she wasn't green. There were also a few oysters still hanging out on the keel.


I had my fingers crossed on the blister situation, but I was really worried about some delamination along the keel that had been reported by the diver. I actually didn't have any blisters at all, but sure enough, there was some ugly looking stuff going on with the keel.

For one thing, there was a big hole in the front of it. I'm guessing a previous owner must have hit something.

Hole in the keel!

Then there was cracking and delamination along the joint.

Superficial cracking

The good news was, the cracking was all superficial. There was no actual separation between the keel and the hull. The yard filled the hole with the lead filler and then ground out the cracked material and refaired it.


By the time they were finished, she looked great.

Bottom job

Bottom job

She was back home in her slip on Friday morning, but I was working the MS 150 charity ride all weekend, so I haven't gotten a chance to see if she feels faster yet.

She keeps looking better and better. People are starting to say, "Hey, that's a nice looking boat." I think she's actually becoming a respectable vessel.


And there won't be anymore jokes about her dirty bottom.


Monday, April 16, 2012

My boat just got fancy

It took some help and encouragement from my neighbor down the pier (probably because he wanted my outboard mount), but Friday I finally pulled the ugly little kicker mount off my transom, patched the holes, and painted. Then Saturday morning the Starwind 27 informally became the Seahorse.

The Seahorse

I probably should have spent a little more time masking the ladder, but you know how things go. I'm particular and meticulous when working on other people's projects, but I get a little lazy with mine. The tape wasn't really sticking anyway.

The vinyl decals from FastSigns looked great. The background color matched up perfectly with the Pettit white semi-gloss paint, which was just a happy accident. Hopefully they won't yellow or fade in the sun.

The Seahorse

Once the boat and the slip were looking fancy, I took some time to work with OpenCPN on my netbook to make sure we had a working chartplotter.


And yes, maybe I just posted that to show off my matching Seahorse coffee mug.

The wind was gusting up to 40mph, so unfortunately we didn't get to do any sailing.

She goes to the yard tomorrow for bottom paint. Hopefully they won't find too many blisters.

Friday, April 06, 2012


I got a random phone call while I was sitting in a hotel room in California last month. It was a Dell representative calling me to let me know the warranty of my XPS 15 laptop was about to expire. She was generously offering me the chance to extend it for another two years for the low price of $250 but with a $50 gift certificate to I'm not big on warranties. Most everything I own is used. I was stupid enough to buy an extended warranty on a car once. That was just money down the drain. My first instinct was to say no, but my desktop had already died, my netbook is worthless, and I was down to just my XPS as my go-to computer for all my photo and video editing. I had spent a lot of money on it, and it need to last at least another 2 or 3 years. I decided to go for it, and I've been regretting it a little because I could have spent that $200 on boat stuff. I'm now barely a week out of the original warranty. Last night I pop a Blu-Ray into the optical drive, and I hear the worst grinding noise you can imagine. Then nothing. I try another disc. More horrible grinding. I reboot and try another disc. The grinding has gotten worse! I called Dell this morning. After checking that I had indeed tried multiple discs and rebooting the computer they agreed to send a new optical drive and a technician to my house to install it. A new Blu-Ray burner is only about $100, so the warranty still hasn't fully paid for itself, but for the first time ever, I'm glad I bought one.

The new blogger is freaking killing me

I use Internet Explorer. Google has purposely made blogger no longer compatible with IE. Do I want to (or can I even)install Chrome on my office computers? No. I'm running off of Firefox right now, but it still doesn't work right. Plus the HTML auto-coding has gone to shit, and now I have to manually put in BR codes at the end of lines or I get one big fat paragraph and text running around photos, etc. Screw you, Google. Unless this gets fixed soon, you may find me on Wordpress.

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

What's in a name?

The Starwind 27 gets a name

After almost three years, I've finally settled on a name for the Starwind 27. I just couldn't bring myself to make another horrible pun or to name it after a girlfriend. I've settled on something simple -- Seahorse.

The hippocamp or hippocampus (plural: hippocamps or hippocampi; Greek: ἱππόκαμπος, from ἵππος, "horse" and κάμπος, "monster"[1]), often called a sea-horse[2] in English, is a mythological creature shared by Phoenician[3] and Greek mythology, though the name by which it is recognised is purely Greek; it became part of Etruscan mythology. It has typically been depicted as a horse in its forepart with a coiling, scaly, fishlike hindquarter.

Homer describes Poseidon, who was god of horses (Poseidon Hippios), earthquakes, and the sea, drawn by "brazen-hoofed" horses over the sea's surface, and Apollonius of Rhodes, being consciously archaic in Argonautica (iv.1353ff), describes the horse of Poseidon emerging from the sea and galloping away across the Libyan sands.[4] In Hellenistic and Roman imagery, however, Poseidon (or Roman Neptune) often drives a sea-chariot drawn by hippocampi. Thus hippocamps sport with this god in both ancient depictions and much more modern ones, such as in the waters of the 18th-century Trevi Fountain in Rome surveyed by Neptune from his niche above.

The mythological seahorse in the graphic was borrowed and adapted from Plate 46 in Fairbairn’s Book of Crests, which was first published in 1859. I don't know the actual age of the seahorse woodcut.

Of course, I had to make one more for my dinghy.

Kraken Up

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

A new sail

The Starwind 27 came with a well-worn main sail, a 70% storm jib, and a spinnaker from a Hunter 27. I've yet to rig and fly the spinnaker, but the worn out storm jib definitely doesn't hold shape well and really leaves something to be desired on light wind days. A flea market find scored us a huge genoa for $50 from a 37' sailboat that we were going to have altered to fit. Unfortunately, a year has now passed with no action there. In the meantime I found a guy selling what would be a 130% genoa on the Starwind for $300 on eBay. It had never been used. The hanks were still shiny. I'm excited, we might finally break 5 knots this summer!

Monday, April 02, 2012

Three weekends with no breakdowns!

Despite dreary forecasts of thunderstorms and wimpy 2 knot winds, we had an amazing sunny weekend in Houston. I took people out on the Starwind 27 for the third weekend in a row. AND for the third weekend in the row, she ran and sailed great with no breakdowns, electrical fires, coast guard boardings or other little emergencies that had been the norm the first two seasons of her restoration. I spent Friday doing some more small repairs and clean-up work. Once all the tools were stowed, she didn't look half bad. I wish I had more before and after shots to show, but I didn't do a good job documenting the mess that existed when I bought the boat. However, here is one that happened to somewhat match up. I just finished the mirrors this weekend.


I also did some more work with acrylic and made a new cover for the control panel as the old one was too yellowed to see through. It was rather distracting having to open it up every couple of minutes to check depth, engine temp, etc. Now I just need to add an on/off switch to the control panel for the depth gauge, and it will be finished.

The new compass is on the binnacle.
It points South instead of North.

And the cabin is looking about as clean and ship shape as it ever has.
Untitled Untitled

I'm ordering smoked acrylic and sealant to replace the four fixed ports next.