Happy 55th Anniversary Sharry!

This is Noodle's personal blog post on 8/22. You can follow his blog at noodlesnotes.com.

"0900 position 46-03N 126-22W. Wind N at 12, seas confused.

Starr's short stay in Neah Bay worked to perfection. We got the last of our engine maintenance done, the entire crew had a nap, and we had a pre-ocean lunch of vegi pizza prepared by Donna. All this occurred while a front was passing overhead heading east, and by 130PM when we weighed anchor, the wind was calm and the sky was sunny.

We powered out of The Strait of Juan de Fuca, around Tatoosh Island, and into the Pacific. There was some swell left over from the wind ahead of the front, but nothing serious.

At 330PM the swim step bilge flooding alarm activated. Swimstep watertight integrity has been a challenge aboard Starr for some time. Like most swim steps, it is only a few inches above sea level in flat water. In any kind of seaway, water washes over it. The four foot long by fifteen foot wide swim step has two large hatches in the deck for access to the void below it for storing gear like barbecues and fenders. Keeping those hatches watertight has been a challenge for Don, who just had the hatch manufacturer replace the sealing gaskets a few days before our departure. It looked like the new seals were leaking, so Don and Clay spent an hour sealing the shut hatches with surgical tubing jammed in the gap between the hatches and the deck.

It got quite a bit rougher last night after dark. The sea state wasn't caused by the local wind, which was moderate and on the beam, but left over from weather that had occurred earlier elsewhere. The problem was that waves were coming from many directions at once. There were swells from ahead of us, from the port bow, and the port beam. Starr was being thrown all over the place, so we altered course to the south of our desired SW heading for an easier ride. It was tough anyway and many of the crew were seasick.

The rougher conditions increased the amount of water on top of both the swim step and aft deck. The temporary hatch repair job apparently wasn't working because the swim step continued to flood, and the lazarette, the area between the swim step and engine room was also flooding from water coming down its deck hatch as well. The lazarette is supposed to gravity drain into the engine room where any leakage would be removed by the engine room bilge pump, but the limber hole between the two compartments was apparently clogged. We started draining that compartment with a siphon. It was a busy night with flood alarms sounding at all hours, sick crew, etc.

Don went aft to look around this morning after first light to discover one of the swim step hatches wide open! It's locking latch had apparently come undone and the compressed air opening assist cylinder had pushed the hatch open. Well, that explained the leak....

Clay and Don got the swim step hatch shut and sealed the hatch into the lazarette with surgical tubing to stop that leak.

I came on watch at 8AM this morning to find a beautiful day and no alarms sounding. The seas have moderated a bit, nobody's sick, and the crew is catching up on sleep after a busy night. It is still too bumpy to come up to our desired heading, but we will be fine heading south towards the tropics for a while. We expect the seas to continue to moderate.

The repair to the lazarette hatch worked and no water is coming in there anymore. The swim step bilge pump is running continuously to remove the 500+ gallons of water that filled it. Unfortunately, there were some cardboard boxes in the swim step storage area and they have dissolved into muck which is clogging the bilge pump strainer. We are clearing the muck out of the strainer every hour so the pump can keep doing its job."

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Owners: Don and Sharry Stabbert

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