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Logs & Stories


Logs & Stories

January 15th, 2002

Notes on Preparing Seafire for Voyaging

Most of the parts and equipment I bought for the project came from Doc Freeman's, Fisheries Supply, or West Marine. With both Doc's and Fisheries I was able to set up wholesale accounts, Doc's pricing often being the more attractive of the two.

Specific info:

Doc Freeman's, 1401 NW Leary Way in Seattle (was just east of the Ballard Bridge now closed). Stuff I bought there: Schaefer sailing hardware, Sta-lok rigging hardware, head and plumbing parts, lights, wiring and electrical supplies, fasteners, Yanmar engine parts, misc. hardware (hinges, handles…), line & fenders, anchors and anchoring hardware. Stuff they don't stock: Electronics, Sterling paint. Good people to work with: Pretty much anybody - Doc's has a terrific sales staff. I had particularly good experiences with Rich, Rod, Dave and Art. Getting a wholesale account: Talk to Martha, the accountant. You give them a check committing you to spend $2500, and you're on your way.

Fisheries Supply, 1900 Northlake Way (just up the hill from Gasworks Park), (206) 632-3555. Stuff I bought there: Sterling paint, sandpaper and supplies, chain and anchoring gear, rigging wire, Sta-lok rigging fittings, propane supplies, wiring and electrical supplies, head and plumbing parts, Harken sailing hardware. They appear to stock everything Doc's and West Marine do. Good people to work with: Jeremy Makin, Chris Kennedy, Stu Mullen and Joe Parks. Getting a wholesale account: If you ask in the retail store, they'll send you down to talk to somebody in the office downstairs. No up-front commitment. You need to watch the prices - their wholesale prices are sometimes higher than West Marine's retail prices.

West Marine (several stores in Seattle area) West Marine doesn't set up wholesale accounts, but they do offer frequent buyer and credit card discounts that we used to advantage. With the West Advantage program, they send you coupons amounting to 4% of your purchases. With the credit card program, they at times offer a 10% discount on the first transaction with the credit card. Karryn and I both signed up for credit cards with a combined limit of $9000, then we shopped around quite a bit and made a list of all the items West Marine (with the combined 14% discount) had the best prices on, had the Shilshole store bring in the gear, and picked it up in one fell swoop. The list was primarily made up of electronics (radar, EPIRB, SSB, autopilot, spare depth sounder head and VHF), but also included safety gear (drogue, sea anchor, collision mat, life raft -- Practical Sailor rates West Marine's life rafts a 'best buy).

Other parts and supply vendors I frequented are as follows:

Stainless steel stanchions and pulpits - Railmakers, 2944 Cedar Street, Everett, WA, (425) 259-9236. Contact: Mark Reeves. These guys do awesome work. Note: you'll have to specifically ask them to come and make the measurements, and to deliver the stuff to see if it fits, and they'll charge you a little more to do so (definitely worthwhile, though). We first called them in the spring, and they weren't interested in coming down to do the measurements. We called them back in October, and they were more than willing, so timing is important.

Epoxy, fiberglass, carbon fiber - Fiberlay, 2425 NW Market Street, Seattle (near the Ballard Locks) - but watch the prices on items you can buy elsewhere, like gloves.

Marine plywood and lumber - Home Builders, 1110 W Nickerson, Seattle (north end of Queen Anne Hill), (206) 283-6060.

Metal (aluminum, stainless, copper for SSB ground plane) - Alaskan Copper and Brass Company, 3223 6th Ave S, Seattle (206) 623-5800. Awesome scrap bins (you save by not paying cutting charges).

Plastics - Laird Plastics 650 Industrial Way, Seattle (south of downtown), 1-800-777-4551. They have a scrap area with small pieces of a variety of plastics (UHMW, Delrin, nylon).

Acrylic plastic (plexiglass) - Commercial Plastics, 3414 Fourth Ave, Seattle, (206)682-4832.

Propane equipment servicing - Evergreen RV Service, 16610 Aurora Ave N, Seattle, (206) 542-1881. We took our propane oven in to be inspected.

Lefiell mast parts and swagings - University Swaging, 840 NW 45th St, Seattle (in N Fremont, S Ballard). Contact: Mark.

Used sailing gear - Admiralty Marine, on Seaview just south of West Marine. I bought several Barient winches and a spare Nicro-Fico traveler car from them. They mark the prices at about half of what a comparable piece of gear would cost new, so you have to negotiate.

Navigation supplies, instructional videos - Captain's, 2500 15th Ave W, Seattle (West side of Queen Anne Hill), (206) 283-7242. These guys are an awesome chart resource (you'll want to talk to Leonard), and have a rental library of dozens of videos on a wide variety of topics (travel videos for many parts of the world, Brion Toss on rigging inspection and Sta-lok assembly, heavy weather sailing, marine electronics…).

Navigation training - Starpath School of Navigation, 3050 NW 63rd Street, Seattle (in Ballard), (206)783-1414. Run by David Burch, a Ph.D. in physics, sailor, and one of the most highly respected navigators in the country. Teaches courses in celestial, radar, and inland navigation and weather.

LED masthead lights - Deep Creek Design, 7680 Buffalo Road, Nashville, TN 37221. These guys make LED lights to replace your power-hungry masthead tri-color and anchor lights. Very pricey, but we don't want to have to run the engine every day.

Solar panels and regulator - Solar Electric, 5555 Santa Fe St, #D, San Diego, CA, (858) 581-0051. We installed two Unisolar 64's because of their durability (we have them on the deck), and relative insensitivity to the Sun's angle. Solar Electric had the best prices (way, way lower than West Marine), and the folks there were helpful.

Rigger - Marine Technical Service/Ken Klaussen, (206) 365-3191. I hired a professional to teach me how to change my standing rigging and install our radar, and then did much of the work myself. I worked primarily with Tim Huse, who was absolutely terrific.

Yanmar engine mechanics - Over the years we've been helped by two terrific mechanics -- Mark Hirawa of Auxiliary Engines NW ((206) 789-8496), and Pat of Pat's Marine Engines (206) 285-0184.)

High output alternator - Greg's Marine and Auto Electric, 5014-14th Ave, Seattle (in Ballard), (206) 706-9048. After doing a fair amount of research, Karryn concluded that the standard marine high output alternators weren't worth the premium, and our mechanics suggested Greg as an alternative. Greg also changed our 55-amp alternator that came with the engine so that it used the external three stage regulator instead of its internal regulator, thus turning it into an alternator that would really put out 55 amps.

Marine electrician - Tom Stamps of Blue Water Electric, (206) 856-3225. Tom did an inspection of the electrical work I'd done in addition to helping us install our alternator.

Marine electrical training - Seattle Central Community College has a branch in Ballard near the Ballard Bridge which teaches a great marine electrical class.

Fishing gear - Seattle Marine & Fishing, 2121 West Commodore, (206) 285-5010.

Sails and sail repairs -- Bob Pistay of Quantum Sails, 1900 Northlake Way, Seattle (near Gasworks Park), (206) 634-0636. Bob did a terrific job helping us out, didn't try to sell us anything we didn't need, and had great prices.

Sail repair class - Port Townsend Sails, 315 Jackson, Pt Townsend, (360) 385-1640. Carol Hasse puts together a great class on sails and sail repair.

Medical training - First Aid at Sea, a Coast Guard-certified class valid for commercial vessels (run by the UW, held at Fisherman's Terminal, taught by a paramedic). This was a two-day class for basic first aid at sea - very good, but no injections or suturing covered, and nothing kid-specific.

Medical supplies - Lafferty's Pharmacy in Ballard. They put together many, many medical kits for commercial vessels every year as well as kits for cruising boats. They have products similar to OceanPak's medical kits, but without the fancy bags, so the cost is nearly half of those products. They'll spend time working up a list of prescription drugs, but you will still need to find a physician to write the prescriptions.

Property management - Karryn chose to work with Shirley Graybill of Quorum Real Estate, (206) 283-6000.

Galley odds and ends - Manual coffee grinder: www.sweetmarias.com. Plastic containers: www.consolidatedplastics.com. I ordered the square wide-mouth jars from Consolidated Plastics, but their Rubbermaid prices were much higher than prices at Fred Meyer and other local stores. Their website has too many layers and is inefficient to do research on; it's better to order a catalogue because your fingers will find the pictures faster.

And finally…finishing the stuff that didn't get done in Seattle - Channel Islands Harbor in Oxnard, California appears to be one of the best places to finish up the work. The transient marina is low cost ($0.40/ft/night during the off-season), and the Harbor Master was willing to let us stay beyond the normal limit to complete the rebuilding of our mast. (I would not plan on a long stay during the regular cruising season, though; their normal time limit is ten days.) Channel Islands Boatyard can haul multihulls (yard manager - Lonnie Jarvis, (805) 984-9273). In addition, there are four well-stocked chandleries within walking distance, and close grocery stores and laundromats.


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