Updates, thanks, Qs for sailing Mac 25 to Port Townsend

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Posts: 9
Joined: Mon Jul 25, 2022 4:08 pm
Sailboat: MacGregor 25
Location: Seattle

Updates, thanks, Qs for sailing Mac 25 to Port Townsend

Post by aprangley »

Hi All,

First some updates and gratitude.

1. When I first posted on this forum, in mid 2022, my 25ft beauty was sitting in a boat yard outside Port Townsend. I bought it sight unseen off Craigslist as I sat on on my porch in Johannesburg, South Africa. I had some questions about whether I could hitch it up when I was in Seattle and pull it to my father-in-law's yard, a couple of hours away. in Woodinville. I posted here - https://macgregorsailors.com/forum/view ... 11#p360311.

Thanks to your advice and my father in-laws natural caution, we replaced the tires, tested and greased the wheel bearings, installed a new light set-up, bungy corded all the lose ends, did a road test, and then rented a u-haul and drove her slowly (with a short ferry crossing) to her new home.

2. After a quick inspection and a gift of a motor from a friend, we took her down to Lake Washington for a test spin with the my brother-in-law. All went OK out on the lake until we ripped the eye out of the jib sail as the wind picked up. And since we were kind of still figuring things out we decided to call it a day.

I fixed the sail, and headed back out a few weeks later with all the family in tow. Everything was perfect on a sunny day, until she started to fill with water - pretty fast. Turns out there is a 3/4 inch hole in the port side for the bilge pump or sink drain :-). And I had not seen it. It was open the whole time, meaning when we healed over slightly the water poured in. We managed to float to the ramp and get home. That was fun!

3. Before heading out again I installed a new bilge pump and battery, and connected it to the drain hole which I think will work. But I had some questions on the keel cable. My main worry was the cable snapping and being stuck on the water. I posted here and got some great advice - https://macgregorsailors.com/forum/view ... 78#p365278.

You all gave me the confidence to examine the winch and cable. The cable looked good, so I have not replaced it yet. But the winch mount was rusty and made me nervous. My smart father-in-law put some new bolt and washers in where needed to help it hold. We also replaced the trailer winch. More than anything I started to understand the whole swing keel system.

4. I had one further fun sail in the 2023 summer, heading across the lake for lunch in Kirkland, while learning to dock without doing damage to boats nearby. The kids swam off the back of the boat and we ripped a floaty trying to drag them around. I hit my wife on the head with the boom, not calling out properly when we went about, and she swore at me and retired to the cabin to sleep off the headache. More fun!

5. Onwards to 2024. I am planning to take Go-Go Far-Far (her new name which I will explain later) to the nearby West Marine store where they do rigging inspection. They will no doubt have concerns and ideas, and I plan to spend more than I want, to fix and add to the standing and running rigging. It all currently works kind of fine for lake sailing but I want a better basic set up for the cold salt water.

Two questions for all you experienced Mac folks:
A) Any good advice for on sailing training. I have sailed dinghies and small boats and messed around on keel boats but have some gaps in my knowledge. I plan to take a basic / intermediate sailing course. I don't want to waste money and time covering what I know. But there is lots I don't know especially navigation, safety, currents, tides, and the rules for sailing across the shipping lane.

B) For any PNW folks with Mac and Puget Sound sailing experience, the goal for 2024 summer is to sail my 3 kids and my wonderful forgiving wife from Edmonds to Port Townsend (and back) for a long weekend. This will be towards the end of this summer. I will dock for a couple of nights, sleep on-shore, and then sail back. it is a 25 nautical mile journey estimated at 3.5 hours at 7 miles an hour. I guess we check the tides and then just start out early in the morning ... any other advice?

Thanks to you all.

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Sailboat: MacGregor 26X
Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Updates, thanks, Qs for sailing Mac 25 to Port Townsend

Post by rsvpasap »

I suggest boom preventers so crew doesn't get hit in the head.

I have a 26X, not a 25, so I'm not an expert on this, but I'm pretty sure that the thru hull hole at the water line is the drain for the galley sink and that there should be a hose, preferably with hose clamps, connecting the sink drain to the inside of the thru-hull. Make sure the hose clamps are only moderately tight, don't tighten them so much that you crack the fiberglass. This hose should go up from the thru hull and should loop to prevent backflow. Merely having a hose terminating in a bilge pump is not a safe arrangement, even with a check valve (maybe especially with a check valve).

I have sailed the area between Edmonds and Port Townsend many many many times, in all conditions, including in January against the tide and directly into 25 knts wind, (because I used to take much greater risks and because I have a 60 hp outboard). My advice is:

1. The most important thing is to travel at slack tide or with the tide behind you. The current in the area I have shaded can easily be 5 knts (up to seven knots some days), meaning you'll make zero progress into four foot waves if you try it at the wrong time with a small outboard motor. Not fun. The area around Point No Point and Foul Weather Bluff can live up to their names. On the other hand it can be totally placid, but there's still a substantial current that conforms to the tides. The Tdes app is very helpful. Navionics is not perfect, but it's also helpful.

2. Remember that you're in shipping lanes, you need to respect the boundary markers and the ship traffic has priority (the right of way). I realize this may sound like a silly thing to say, but you have to have a VHF radio. There are a number of cruise ships passing through this area headed north on Sunday afternoons in the summer, always an interesting spectacle.

3. When you get past Point No Point, there are two possible courses. One is to stay east, up the Admiralty Inlet ship channel and then around the north end of Marrowstone Island into Port Townsend. This is the more beautiful scenery and in the right conditions you can sail it fairly easily. Alternatively, stay west and motor up through the Port Townsend Ship Canal, which is what I usually do if my final destination is Port Townsend or Sequim rather than the San Juans. Note that the tidal current in the ship canal is also significant and that it does not match the times of the tidal flows in Admiralty Inlet, i.e, you will need to specifically check the flow direction times for the ship canal because they don't match the tides. If you go through the ship canal, keep an eye out for nuclear submarines and pay attention to instructions from the Navy patrol boats. Seriously. You need a radio.

4. Once you get to Port Townsend, if you are planning to stay overnight on a mooring ball at Fort Flagler, you should first verify that they have put the mooring balls back in the water because they took all but one of them out a few months ago to put in a new stronger versions. Fort Flagler is a great place for kids, extensive hiking, abandoned WWII artillery armaments, genuinely interesting. There are lots of good morning balls in Mystery Bay, but poor cell phone service.

5. Port Ludlow is awesome and they have free bus service between Port Ludlow and Port Townsend. Also, Port Gamble, just off Heritage Park, is one of my favorite "secret" anchorages where hardly anyone ever goes. I've literally spent months there, a week at a time. There are a couple of daytime restaurants in Port Gamble, but no groceries or supplies.

As far as learning to sail ...

If you're not familiar with the basics of sailing, take ASA 101, which generally includes 12 to 15 hours of on-the-water instruction covering the basics of how to rig the boat, trim the sails, tack, jibe, dock, operate an outboard, etc., usually done on a boat about the same size as a Macgregor.

Crew on other people's boats. This was how I learned to sail, crewing on other (larger) boats over the course of a summer in a number of races, I eventually got to do almost everything, including manning the tiller around the marks and flying the spinnaker. I found this experience invaluable and massively confidence building. Edmonds has a huge sailing community. I would literally just go to the office at the marina and ask. If that doesn't work, drive down to Shilshole or up to Everett and do the same thing. Shilshole has multiple sailing schools, they probably do in Edmonds as well.

Photo at the little dock at Fort Flagler.


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Be Free
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Re: Updates, thanks, Qs for sailing Mac 25 to Port Townsend

Post by Be Free »

Getting a professional to look at your rigging is a good idea but you should know what to look for yourself as well. Check it out yourself before you take it in and see how your assessment lines up with theirs.

Replace any fitting that is bent or deformed. That would include tangs (flat metal parts that the stays attach to), adjusters, turnbuckles or anything else that the wire rope (cable) attaches to as well as the stay itself. A kinked stay should be replaced.

There should be no rust on any part of your stays. If you see rust then at least one of the wires (may be on the inside) that make up the stay is compromised.

If even one wire is broken replace the stay. The safest way to check for broken wires is to slide a cloth over the entire length of the stay. Don't test it with your bare hand. Do it in both directions. A broken wire will catch on the cloth (instead of cutting your hand).

Make sure that all of the fitting are properly connected and designed for marine use. The clamp or turnbuckle you see at the local hardware store is not necessarily appropriate for use on your boat. It may be, but you need to be sure. Swaged fittings are preferred to a thimble and cable clamps (less likely to catch on things and fewer parts to fail).
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