Zensekai (zen's world under sail)

The sailing adventures of s/v Zen and crew

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Art, Water & Sailboats
part I

A quiet day at work, nothing creative to do so,I'm bored. So whilst looking around at blogs and the like. I came across an artist's blog with some of her paintings up. So that got me to thinking about some ceramic projects to plan on since I have a new ceramic class upcoming in Aug. I have done ceramics for several years now, most hand building and Raku. I love Raku. One day when I'm back living in Japan , I'll take some more classes there on pottery as well. My Sis-n-Bro in-law ( who are very good)take classes now from time to time with some famous ceramic Sensei. Although he may not be around by the time we get there to live. I still want to pursure that more, in the home of Raku.

So back to where I was going, I need to give some thought to some new ideas to work with for my class. This time is a wheel throwing clay class. I have not had a lot of luck doing wheel work so this time I can focus on it. I generally like to combine ideas themes. eg: Art of sailing expressed in some ceramic, or water expressed in a ceramic form. Generally I like water, the flow, the movement.

I have done one boat piece which was far from my favorite ( above). I did it as a class project with a new technique, which I hated! Messy, hard to work with, yuk. "Sailboat on the water". It is a hollow piece, made by wrapping clay soak burlap around a form core, then fired. Once cold it is then treated as a regular ceramic and raku glazed and re-fired.

I have a few items here in my office but did not bring my camera. Maybe I'll post them later, maybe not...
for now I gathered a couple of photos to which I had access.

This one is one of my more favorites.
Inspired by the
"Hokusai The Wave" painting on of the 7 views of Mt Fuji. It is all rounded and curved shapes.

This unit is called "Water". Same thought as

"Hokusai The Wave" but more 3D
I prefer making functional pieces rather than just something for looks. The sailboat can only be looked at, were as this piece and the "wave" can be useful. It shows better live .
Hmmm while looking at ths I got a better name. "Rouge Wave" can you see it?

Anyway to the few who follow this blog, I should have something artsy this fall in the way of ceramics. Should be at least midly interesting to see what I tap into from the universe ;-)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Marin Co. Sunday

Today was not a sailing day, but really a boat day. I went to Loc lomond marina first thing in the morning. This was were I sailed to memorial weekend.

I drove today because the yacht club there was putting on a flea market sale. I thought I could get lucky and pick up a few boat parts I needed cheap. There were not really a lot of sellers there. Only a few. They did have some boat stuff but nothing I really needed.

A couple of things I would have gotten if the price was right, which it was not. I did get a little box fan for s/v Zen and a pair of jeans.

A Mission to Modern Sailing Academy

So next I'm off to Sausalito on a mission. Bill-san from Osaka Japan, who runs BLISS, a sailing school there, contacted me. He is the one who got me on the idea to get certified with ASA and teaching. So he told me another American who will be working with BLISS is here to get teacher certified at the Mordern Sailing Academy school. If I was interested he would be around for 5 days. Also if I was to go over please leave a message.
So I leave the flea market and head over to MSA about 20 min away. I get there and expect to miss the boat. However the office guy says, oh they are still here, right there.

I go down to the dock and ask for Dave and it is is Dave I'm asking, wow! what karma!. We get to chat for a very short time as he is heading out with the class. I take a few shots of the area after they leave.

Too many to put up, other than this. There was however this monster in the next yard.!! It would take my whole year salary to fill this with fuel no doubt
It looks like a buiding but it is really a boat!
Bottom center of the shot is a car and those are warehouses to the left

Next stop the Artist Marina

Further down in town is another marina where the Artist Community on the water. I find out later it is one of the last low income housing spots in Marin co. much less that it is on the water.

I hear most living there are in some type of boat related work, or painting, photography, woodwork, etc.

This is also the place where there is to be a Flea Market and Art show in Aug. So I was interested in seeing what was there. This is also the place that is managed by the woman writer who her, and her husband built their Cat. and sailed around the world for two years with thier family. Yup that one.

I stroll around looking and taking pictures since everything is open. Some interesting looking boats and places. I speak to a few folks, one dock guy and I chit chat for a short bit. Then I head to the office. I want to see what time the show starts and if there is someone who can make a dodger for s/v Zen. I am greeted by two ladies. One of which is the writer. She introduces herself , I say " oh the writer" she looks surprised, but I keep on going about the dodger. After we get that out of the way we talk about her, how did you know? she asks. I explain, the other woman says yeah we saw his web site. I think, hmmm so they did get the email. Anyway, I did not push it. I figured she was busy with her life, and just moved on with the chat. She turns out to be a nice lady. We talk just for a little while as she was heading out shortly. The other woman reminded her, so we cut the talk short. If you want to read some of her adventures, I will now recommend them :-) look under Sailnet.com and SailJazz .com for the writer named Doreen. If that is not the name it is close and maybe the only female writer there at least with a similar name.

Now after that I head home back across the bridge
but it is not over yet...

The Ebay Sewing Sailor:

I buy a fair amount of stuff off Ebay for s/v Zen and in general for our home use. The last cover Lady Zen made for s/v/ Zen she had a hard time with it. The machine was not built to handle the heavy material double triple folded like she does to sew. So I figured to find us a better machine on Ebay since money is an object. I found several. I Asked a few questions. One guy took a couple of days to reply, he said he had been out sailing, sorry for the slow reply. He then told me the machine was good for what i had in mind, but if I wanted to make sails I would need something else, another brand. If said he did not want to have a fellow sailor bummed out about the purchase. He also told some woman that she did not need to buy his machine just have her's adjusted. So I placed my bid, after a while I get an email saying pretty much the same things as told me before. He said he saw I was a sailor and did not want another sailor to be unhappy with the purchase, the machine was good but not for making sailing. Repair and canvas, etc was fine. Something to do with the size of the stiches for sailmaking. All this to say he was concerned not only the quality of his sale but for another sailor. He stated in his ad he was "into" sewing machines, from his actions, I felt comfortable buying this machine. I also got it at a GOOD price. I am putting this up, because 1. Another sailor looking out for another, but someone concerned about customer service, which I conplained about the lack of before. 2. So to give some due respect where due. If you need a sewing machine on ebay check out "sewteck".

So ends boat day, well all but all the time i spent putting this up. :-)
No adventures planned for this week or weekend, maybe some misc work on Sunday coming and a short sail.
BBQ on the 4th. Maybe I will invite some friends over to see the fireworks from the boat...

Doyoubi Benicia ne Ikimashita
(Sat. to Benicia)

Sat morning, we get down to the marina there is some serious wind blowing. White caps on the waves, leaves on the palm trees blowing like long hair on hot chick on a motorcycle. Wind howling through the masts

But I was heading out anyway. I figured it would be good practice. The hardest part was getting away from the dock. Current and wind was not helpful to launch, but I did it, not as planned but going with the flow of the energy then making a u-turn, and headed out of the marina.
We got fairly wet leaving the marina, heading into the wind, with big waves.

A bit of ways out I raise the mainsail and we head off on a close haul. After we got a little way out the ride got a bit more comfortable. We were sailing just under the mail sail. Still with a fair about of heel , but Lady Zen said she was fine, she has gotten more use to it and did not bother her anymore. As we approached the far shore and a tanker, I tried to come about, but could not do it. Not enough drive, I basicly went into a heave-to and could not move further. I figured to Gyib.
No good still too much current and wind not but not enough drive. I fired up the motor made my turn to a starboard close haul and killed the motor. We stayed on a close haul the rest of the way.

We past a couple of tankers, well,we passed one which was anchored, another past us.

We approached Benica dropped the sail and motored into the marina

We docked and checked in with the harbor master

After docking and checking in we walk into town. It is fairly quiet, and on the late side so we rushed over to the Thai resturant for lunch only to find it closed on Sat!!!!! WHATTTTTT! Agrrrrrr. Oh well, there are lots of other places around.
So we ended up going to The first Street Cafe, where we had breakfast on our first overnight trip to Benicia 2 yrs ago.

We had some Ahai tuna and something with articoke hearts mixed with something yummy. That was not enough of it, but pleasing.
After a bit this cute guy showed up...a Beagle and Pug mix.

Next we go up the street and have some icecream before heading back to the marina

From here we head back to the marina

After a bit of waiting about 25 min, while a big Big GAS Hog POWER Boat filled up.
Also talking with another speed boat driver who wanted to know about sailboats, upkeep , cost, sailing. He said he spent about 500.00 for a weekend on the water!!! He was ready to look into something else. I told him I filled up a couple of weeks ago. It cost me about 8.00 after motoring down to San Rafael. I sailed back, 5 hours, then went out a couple of times since then and filled up today on 1 gal of gas. He was impressed! Meanwhile the big yacht was still filling up! Finally he finshed and we were able to lauch away from the dock. They were so close whilst filling it was easier to wait than to go around them.

We turn and head out of Benicia Marina after this nice ketch goes by.
The wind is still fairly up on the way back. Since we are heading down wind. I go for just using the jib. we have a nice smooth ride back on a run, almost direct to home port, only a small course adjustment, dropped, (refurled) the jib once inside the breakwall.
So ends a pleasant sail day and mini vacation.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Friday's Child

AH, Friday.
Finally got my Friday off, it is suppose to be every other week. Missed it due to a work project or the last two Cry

Now it was all for nothing, the thing got extended twice Angry

It was 100 degrees yesterday , but not so bad at marina. So I got a few things done. Locking system installed on companion way. More sanding on the bright work. Removeing more paint and ugh from the teak and installed a cover for the freshly refinshed doors.

Looking good if I do say so myself. Lady Z put in a lot of work sewing the weather cloths & door cover.

Next things for her are:
snap on bug screens. I already have the design.
Winch covers,
cockpit cushion covers. We are planing Brown or Tan to break up the Pacific Blue.

For me more Sanding and TeaQuaing

Today is Sat. Also suppose to be HOT, It is still early and cool now. We will be heading out a little later for a short sail, about 1 hr over to a little town called Benica. The couple from work could not make it, as I thought. They were dissapointed so we'll try agin on one of the July trips. So Lady Z and I will make this alone. It will be our first time back to Benica by boat in a couple of years, since dating, when we took Kuan Yin. Come to think of it, we have been out lots of time but will be our first landfall alone on s/v Zen.

to be con't...

Sunday, June 18, 2006

(father's Day)

My father passed away some years ago. Miyatani otosan, Lady Zen's father passed away just this year, while we were visiting in Japan. Today we remembered them both as we are both fatherless now.

The symbol in the frame is the Family crest, for lady Zen's family. I use it now on some things, like s/v Zen logo and certain other things. Since we do not have children, and he ( her dad) does not have any male children and only one brother with no kids. I will be last to use this seal. So I do it in his honor. When we go to Japan I will use there as well to extend his memory in some small way, his name will not die out just yet.

I made this tray last year. I used it this morning to burn incense for both our fathers. A little memorial.

Miyatani Otosan was very traditional I was told about Japanese cerimonies. This was his favorite kimono. He would wear it a couple of times a year for certain things. I was told it is an antique. Worth a couple of thousand yin. Outside it is not that impressive looking. Nice workmanship, big pocket sleeves. Other wise plain. Inside it is quite impressive. Silk painting, carp, water, mountain. wow. This was going to be burned in the funeral. Instead it was given to me.

Having cleaned my garden yesterday.

It was nice to sit out there this morning.
before the day got to far along and have a quite moment.

I remembered sitting in Japan playing my flute in Otosan's Japanese room overlooking the garden. My dad, always liked our little yard we had also. He use to grow roses.
I decided to play a song on my
Shaminsen for both of them, my dad like the guitar, this is the Japanese version,
wearing Miyatani Otosan no Kimono. For the first time

Then off to the marina...

I spent a couple of hours re-doing the locking system on the doors. Not only to make it neater/cleaner but more burglar resistant. Nothing can stop them, this will make it more difficult so maybe they will go somewhere else. It also gives me more peace of mind for overnight sleeping in the less secure places of the world.

Then on to more sanding and TeaQueing, final finished the inside cockpit area. a few touch ups but for the most part done there.. with that part....

Then I figured to head out for a short sail... The wind was really unpleasant.
Just before I was ready to begin to head out and just after I finished the bright work. The wind picked up...seriously. Flags were standing vertical parallel to the ground no slack at all. The trees were bending. I thought hmmmmm, maybe I do not want to deal with this. I'll let the woood dry more and think about it. Then 20 min or so, it stopped, it was so calm I was thinking, hmmm there is little point in going out in this, there is no wind now at all bummer. Then a light breeze, I went for it.

After getting out there, the wind followed the same pattern, very nice, then way too much, then not enough. I accepted what was given, and went with the flow, practiced reefing under way, heading up, bearing off, expecting no more than the moment and staying with the "Tao".

It was short but pleasant.
After a bit I headed back as it
was already late when I started
I wanted to be back before dark. The stereo speakers worked great!

Having heard today that our quiet little park marina is joining the commercial mecca of the 21st century.
With next year to bring, cement docks, water front offices, bed & bath, a restaurant, and the like, also almost doubling in size. I figured I would grab some shots of history now in the present...

So ends Chichi No Hi '06

Coming up next weekend, Lunch in Benica, the Waterpath.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

The Doors
(not the band)

Pre-Dad day...
Friday night Lady Zen and I were up working on stuff for S/V Zen. I sanded the doors and Teaque them out on the lanai. Lots of work but worth it afterwards

Lady Zen was busy sewing a weather cloth
I'm sure she will not like this picture...
I told her she always looks cute

Sat morning after I took her breakfast for working so much, on Friday in spite of hurting back.
I took the weather cloth and installed the gromets in the parking lot of our condo, after cleaning up the lanai mess I had made the night before. It was hot hot hot! the Sun was cooking me...85 degree plus on Sat. I moved to the shade wheeeeeww. Relief...
Meanwhile back upstairs Lady Zen was finishing up the seat cushions

Now off to the marina, ahhh much cooler there. The next slip guys in their power boat were having problems. Fuel pump was not working so they were there complaining louding about what to do and how to fix it. I started sanding. Finally they left. ahhh , I had the place to myself. Turned on some tunes and hung the weather cloth and did some Teaqueing.

Bummer bummer bummer they are back shortly, the power boat gang. These guys are not bad. It is just there are 4 of them, young guys and all that goes with that...
Turns out they had to come back, someone had stolen fuel out of their tank and they were almost out. Poor things, kawaiso , So they had to make a gas run. It was a drag that someone had ripped them off, first I had heard of it in our Marina, but... these same guys caught a fish last week and tried to kill it by beat it in the head. I did not feel sorry they had to post pone their fishing trip today. Maybe some Fish Fairy was paying them back.

After a bit they took off again, I was once again alone with my tunes on a nice sunny afternoon. I reinstalled the doors, put on a new lock system inside, added another coat of Teaque to the hand rails and door jam. It was a good day

Nice doors eh! yeah Baby, yeah
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