KatieKat 2005 Cruise Chapter One

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30 April 2005Winter in California
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30 April, 2005 -- Winter in California

In the last six months we were wintering at home in California - there is a definite absence of logic here: winter in the northern hemisphere should be spent cruising in the southern hemisphere!

Both Kathy and I have always had pets, and while cruising in the southwest Pacific we were rather pet-deprived. After watching countless cruisers row their dogs ashore in often miserable weather, we concluded that cats should make better boat pets. We were visiting Stephan Wendl in a boatyard where he was having the transoms of his Seawind extended, and what should pop its head out of the cabin but a kitten! Stephan was having to reluctantly part with it (he had rescued it from a sure death), and we happily took the cutie off his hands.

[Mika chewing on pumpkin] [Mika and Joe] [Mika on monitor] [Mika watching clock] [Kathy and Mika in yard]

Oodles of fun, and no college fund required. Grew from a kitten into a cat awfully quickly.

[Joe on skis] [Alec on snowboard]

Son Alec and I managed a ski/snowboard getaway to Heavenly Valley at Lake Tahoe. My newest skis are only 25 years old, with ski runaway preventer straps to match.

[Joe and Kathy on bicycles] Kathy and I tried to stay active throughout the winter.

The other household addition was the Christmas/Anniversary present for ourselves - a 2002 Honda Insight.

[Kathy and Insight] Kathy in front of the house she lived in as a teenager in Hollister.

From an efficiency standpoint, the Insight is a level above all the other hybrids on the road today - it was specifically designed to maximize gasoline mileage, while still driving like a normal car and providing modern creature comforts and safety for two people. What a marvelous technical achievement, integrating aerodynamics and friction reduction, light weight throughout (including an aluminum body), propulsion efficiency with pollution cleanliness, and safety - all in a production vehicle! I have a tough time convincing people that 80 miles/gallon is a readily-achievable highway mileage. Our own lifetime overall average is presently 74.0 mpg. The car has three trip meters which show interval mileage/mpgs and a lifetime mpg readout as well, in addition to a ribbon LCD readout which shows instantaneous mpg. The feedback from all these instruments does wonders in altering one's driving habits (I've been a lifelong leadfoot).

[84.8 for 52.8 miles] [80.8 for 107.3 miles]

Some typical examples from short trips. For this LCD screen the number on the left is the miles per gallon for this trip, the number on the right is the trip mileage, the large "0" on top is the speedometer, and the numbers along the bottom are for the LCD ribbon showing instantaneous mpg when driving (it's zero because the car is stopped and the engine automatically turns itself off).

Not bad for a car that does 0-60 in 10.5 seconds - it has a governor which limits its top speed to 110mph from its 1-litre 3-cyl ultra-clean engine and electric motor combination (ultra-low-rolling-resistance tire 113mph rating limit). It handles like a sports car, can readily stay ahead of traffic when climbing hills, and proved very comfortable for the 1700-mile round trip from California to Washington to check up on the boat. Yes, I like it!

Back to boat stuff ... one of the additions I had wanted to make for KatieKat was a second aft enclosure. I got as far as starting to sew it... and have brought the sewing machine and materials with me onto the boat to continue the job.

[Joe sewing trampoline] [Mika helping Joe sew]

In the first photo I'm repairing the trampoline (to keep as a spare - have a new one), and in the second photo the cat's helping me with the sewing.

I made a couple of trips up to the boat to further offload gear and do some minor fixings. She was non-the-worse for wear in a wonderfully protected little marina on the Hood Canal.

[Sealing cover plate] [Blue tarp over cockpit]

The left photo shows the re-sealing of the main beam deck cover. The right photo shows the ugly temporary cockpit cover, as I took the awning home to use as a pattern for the new enclosure I'm making. Note how high she's riding without all the cruising gear onboard.

Anyway, at the end of April we packed everything (including the cat) into the trusty Isuzu and headed north to KatieKat in Washington State.

[Joe repairing the Isuzu] Had a few problems with the Isuzu along the way, the result of shoddy workmanship by "professionals" who worked on it a few days earlier in order to get it to pass the smog test.

[Isuzu loaded with Rubbermaid boxes] [Containers next to boat]

Fourteen Rubbermaid boxes (our designer luggage), three sleeping bags, five duffel bags, a microwave oven, bicycle, Honda generator, sewing machine and fabrics, books, two computers, three space heaters, three 21lb boxes of cat litter, etc., all caused the boat's waterline to drop to an all-time low. I need to keep exercising to keep my own weight down!

Alaska, here we come!


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