Tender Chocks

I’m proud of myself for installing the tender chocks myself. I was pretty nervous about drilling holes in fiberglass (and a boat!) so I spent a lot of time doing research, asking people for advice and planning it. It turned out really well. And because the swim platform has foam core between the fiberglass, I was not concerned about water penetration. I filled the holes with epoxy and used 3M 5200 sealant anyway, though. I used really nice Wichard padeyes for the tie-downs too, which look nice. It took me weeks and 3 days of actual work, but it turned out really well and there’s still plenty of room to walk around on the swim platform to get on and off the boat and into the crew cabin.

I also got a remote control for the swim platform. The Opacmare passarelle has a remote control that goes on a key ring to operate it. The swim platform is made by the same company so I wondered if it too can be operated with a remote. It turns out it can! All I had to do was buy a remote receiver and a remote and plug the receiver into the hydraulic lift’s motor. That was the easiest boat project I’ve ever done, it took seconds. Without a remote control, I’d have to tie the tender to the boat, lower the platform, get in the tender while it’s floating, untie it and drive off. Now, I get in the tender, use the remote to lower it and drive off. Coming back, I float above the platform, use the remote to lift it and it automatically goes on the chocks and I step out of the boat.

53rd Birthday

I turned 53 today! I always feel great on birthdays and making it another year. I hope I get many many more.

I spent the day by skipping my usual workout (so decadent!), went to Figurati and drove the Williams 325 around in Lake Union, picked up a gyro for lunch and then the sun came out so I took Figurati out into Lake Washington for a bit. Then I went home for my birthday dinner with the family.

Williams 325

I ordered this Williams TurboJet 325 in early May, was told I’d get it in July, expected it in August and received it today in October. Long lead times and slow shipping is typical in today’s boating industry, unfortunately. Because of the delay, we had to get a temporary tender to use during the summer, which worked well.

I wanted a jet tender because we will carry it on the swim platform and a jet tender doesn’t have an outboard engine. An outboard requires that you lift it up and put it down when you put it on and off the lift and is so bulky that it is in the way when you walk on and off the boat. No propeller seems safer for the kids to use and if we pull them on tubes or skis. Plus, it’s fun!

Jet tenders have their downsides, though. Destroying a jet engine is far more expensive than a replacing an outboard engine so you have to be more careful with them. While there’s no propeller to damage by hitting things, the jet engine can suck things (sand, gravel/rocks, plants, plastic bags, etc) into them and damage the engine. So you have to be careful where you drive it, avoiding shallow water and not running aground with the engine on. You also have to flush them out, especially when used in salt water, after every use (although I guess you should also flush an outboard engine too).

I played with it for an hour in Lake Union and it is fun. I’m still in the engine break-in period, which is either 5 hours or 10 hours depending on which part of the Williams manual you read, so I can’t go over 6,000rpms (!) which kept me at 7mph max. That’s fine for no-wake zone of Lake Union where the speed limit is 7 knots. I can tell it can really go, top speed is supposedly 48mph, and steering is very responsive — turns so quickly that it could throw you out. It’s essentially a jet ski. And it can rotate within its own length which is very handy for docking.

Bainbridge Island solo trip

For the last couple official days of summer, I decided to take the boat out into Puget Sound for a couple nights by myself. I’ve single-handed the boat myself in Lake Union several times using the Yacht Controller to take it out of the slip and then put it back and am able to do it reliably and without much stress, so I wanted a little more of a challenge. The Locks, especially the large lock, require multiple people to handle the lines so going through them by myself felt like it would be a personal accomplishment and one that I would enjoy.

The kids left for school and then I got packed and ready to go. After a quick stop for a few more groceries at Pete’s Market on the way to the marina, I was on the boat taking the covers off the windows at 10:09am, prepared my dock lines for the locks, checked the engine room, booted the Raymarine displays, etc. I left the slip at 10:35am, fairly quick for me!, and got to the Locks just after 11am. There were three boats already there, including Liv Jack, another SYC member and whose tender Eva drove on July 4th in Roche Harbor.

While entering the locks, I stood in the center of the bow driving the boat into the lock with the remote. The locks crew must’ve realized I was using a remote because he asked “Are you alone?” When I confirmed it, he yelled to the other crew that I’m doing it by myself and the crew member on the wall yelled to me that they’d help me with the stern line. I’ve heard stories about how rude and gruff they are but they have always been pleasant and friendly to us.

I steered the boat into position, went back to the stern where the crew member was holding out a boat hook for me to put the line on. She put it around the bollard and I secured it to the boat’s stern cleat. Then I made my way quickly to the bow again to lasso the bollard, which I did after one failed attempt. I had to adjust both lines a little to make the boat stay parallel to the wall while the other boats entered the lock behind me, but all in all, it wasn’t as difficult or as stressful as I expected it to be.

I took the 5 miles to Bainbridge slowly at 10 knots/hour just to enjoy the short trip. I got to the SYC outstation in Eagle Harbor just after 1pm and was happy to find the 100-foot end tie empty, which is great because it’s the only place our 60’ boat can dock there. If it wasn’t available, I’d have to anchor out in the bay, something else I’ve never done by myself.

After docking, I sprayed the windows down with Salt-Off and rinsed them, did some other minor cleaning, unpacked my suitcase and by 4pm I walked to Harbour Public House for an early dinner before the Steelers game. I really like that place, friendly casual atmosphere, great view of the marina, old school pub, mussels and salmon fish & chips was good. I was outed as a Steelers fan by the guy at the next table — Seahawks fans don’t like the Steelers because they still believe the Steelers paid the refs to beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XL — despite putting a jacket over my Steelers shirt.

After dinner, I walked back along the boardwalk to the marina and to the boat where I watched the Steelers game on Thursday Night Football. The Steelers lost to the Browns.


Summer felt over when I woke up and it was cold and cloudy all morning. The sun came out in the afternoon and the evening was nice and warm.

Aside from some window washing, I relaxed all day, barely even stepping off the boat, listening to music and reading the day away. Oddly enough, Chris Wyman and Mark Putnam stopped by the boat on Chris’ boat on their way out to go fishing that evening. I still don’t know how they knew I was there, they claimed they saw the boat on the dock and went to check it out and it turned out to be me. But they seemed to know it was our boat and I was on it and that Gay wasn’t on it.

The day was cool and cloudy but the clouds cleared and it warmed up in the afternoon. I grilled a steak on the flybridge barbecue, baked steak fries in the oven, added some horseradish and that was my dinner. I watched a movie and went to bed. It was nice quiet day for me.


I woke up to a sunny day, made coffee and scrambled eggs and grilled sausage patties for breakfast. By 11:30am I was pushing off the dock and was at the locks before 1pm. I had to wait 3 hours before I could get through the lock because I had to wait for the small lock, since I was by myself, and charters, even empty ones, kept going in front of me. This locking was more smooth than the first time. I put both lines on quickly and watched the 3 guys on the sailboat behind me struggle with their lines. I got back to our slip at about 5pm, closed up the boat and went directly to Hudson’s soccer game at Magnuson to catch the second half. They won again, 2-1. They’re a really skilled team that is fun to watch.

Whidbey and Kingston

We planned to go up to Whidbey Island as a family but Havana didn’t want to go. So it was to be just the four of us. Then Hudson invited his friends, Bowie and Penn, at the last minute. Havana stayed home alone (!) one night and then she spent the next night at Jamison’s house.
Sunday morning we left the marina and arrived at Langley by 1:30pm. After we anchored I was on the flybridge and started to hear Coast Guard reports over the VHF radio of a boat-to-boat collision and a search for survivors in Mutiny Bay, just on the other side of the island from where we were anchored. It turned out to be a seaplane crash, one of the worst plane crashes in Washington history with all 9 passengers, including a 22-month old kid, and the pilot killed. 😢
Sep 10, 2022 Update: all the identities were made public, two bodies have been recovered and the wreckage may have been located.


We dropped our crab pots and a few hours later had dozens of crabs but all but two were either female or too small. We tried two more times but both were much less successful. But we had enough crab to make a dip.

Penn started school on Tuesday so we took him to the Port of Everett – the largest public marina on the west coast I learned – Monday afternoon where his dad picked him up. Then we took the boat to Kingston to find a full marina. We quickly anchored in the bay and rushed to town to have dinner at Kingston Ale House before they closed.


The next morning I took the tender into town and got a lot of crepes and took them back to the boat for breakfast.