Get in the Know!

AYC is proud to host US sailing certified judge and accomplished Northwest sailor Eric Rimkus. Eric has had a series of yachts from 24′-42′ named Gladiator. His success on the race course throughout the PNW is enviable. Eric is engaging and entertaining as well as being a stickler for the rules. If you ever wanted to be able to better understand what is happening on the race course and what your responsibilities are this is your chance. Eric will present a series of Friday night seminars starting at about 7pm on Jan 27th, Feb. 3rd, 17th and 24th. Jan 27th and Feb 24th we will wait until the 5 buck nighters have their meal and are seated.
From Eric:
  • 1st night = start & weather leg (time permitting since start is the bulk and weather leg is very straight forward)
  • 2nd night = approaching the weather mark, rounding, exiting
  • 3rd night = downwind leg (mostly rule 17 stuff since it is by far the MOST misunderstood) and leeward mark
  • 4th night = leeward mark and finish and random questions.
Eric’s presentations will last about an hour and then he will field questions from the audience. He will use our AV system to present everything you need to know about the new US sailing rules for 2017-2020 Thanks to one of terrific and generous AYC members admission is free. Of course we will put a seminar jar on the bar so Eric and his lovely wife Kim can maybe have a “night out” on us:)
In other news:
Seattle Boat Show jan 27th-Feb 4th Quest Events Center, save a dime take the train to King Street station it’s just across the parking lot and shuttle to lake Union
Rumor has it there maybe a new BANGARANG in town
Errant Belle crew still expanding
Mikey crew headed South again to do battle in Florida
No Tomorrows looking racy for 2017

Swiftsure Skippers Series: #1 Schwenk Incorporated

Every skipper knows they will face challenges and enjoy many adventures when they participate in Swiftsure.

We selected a number of skippers who have previously raced in Swiftsure to ask about their impressions. Swiftsure is happy to present a series of articles where these skippers responded to a few of our questions. The responses will entertain, engage and even teach.

First up is Schwenk, Incorporated… Andy and Stephanie Schwenk race separately and together – and they do both exceptionally well – hailing from Anacortes Yacht Club.

stephStephanie puts her Santa Cruz 27 through its paces, consistently coming out on the winner’s podium.

Andy – well, words fail… Not much he hasn’t raced, helping bring together new boats and new crews while guiding them steadily. He has a million stories. In 2014, Andy raced Oregon Offshore on Blade Runner, double-handed with Ward Naviaux and the two dudes took First Overall PHRF!

Andy and Stephanie have one hand on the pulse of Anacortes Yacht Club racing and the other on the tiller.

 Q1: Name Stephanie Schwenk (Wild Rumpus SC27)

Q2: How many Swiftsure races have you done? At least 10, probably more

Q3: What year was your first Swiftsure? 1990 I think

Q4: What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you or your crew when racing in Swiftsure? I showed up to sail on a Hobie 33, hadn’t raced on it before, didn’t know the owner, and on the boom it said “fear is never boring”.  That was funny and scary, equally.

Q5: What was the most exciting or interesting thing that occurred while you were racing in Swiftsure?

On Bravo Zulu, on the way to the Bank a few years ago, we had a reefed main and the #4, in the fog with almost no visibility.  We heard music playing, and looked UP to see it was the deck of the Victoria cruise ship!! Right in front of us!!  Plus the time our dinner caught on fire.  Plus the year when “fear was never boring”… that ride lived up to its name.

Q6: What advice would you give someone who’s thinking of racing Swiftsure for the first time?

First of all, I say “do the inshore race!!  All of the fun of the long races and so civilized!!”

But if you’re going out, get the most experienced crew you can find, and get good foulies.


Q1: Name Andy Schwenk (so many boats, so little time)

Q2: How many Swiftsure races have you done? About 30

Q3: What year was your first Swiftsure? 1979

Q4: What’s the funniest thing that has happened to you or your crew when racing in Swiftsure?

We were making sandwiches, got bored, and put pieces of paper towel in them, curious to see who was first to complain. They got to make dinner…

Q5: What was the most exciting or interesting thing that occurred while you were racing in Swiftsure?

Running home through Race Rocks of course. Artemis at 26 knots over the bottom. Just about any year on Night Runner. After spinning around the 22′ spinnaker pole on our side in a 35 knot puff skipper Doug Fryer (who was driving and now is in his 80’s) suggested we get the heavy spinnaker set up. Of course, we complied and went on to win.

Q6: What advice would you give someone who’s thinking of racing Swiftsure for the first time?

Get there a day early and plan to spend a day after. It’s not just the race, Victoria is always beautiful.

The Art of the Delivery

Sailing season is starting this month. And with the exception of the hearty crews that participated in the South Sound Series or the Shaw Island Winter Classic, this also means the start of the sailboat delivery season. Delivery skippers and crews are a diverse lot. Culled from the ranks of racers, some are those special few that are on financially sound footing that they are able to do both the delivery and the race… or perhaps they are simply homeless and wanna get out of the rain for awhile.

Boats deliveries happen around the globe. But since 48°N is a PNW tradition, I will focus on some of my favorite local aspects of the delivery culture, with a little variety thrown in since it’s both the 40th anniversary of the Oregon Offshore and Vic Maui has already sold out. Those are particularly worthy of note, because if you ever wanted to do an ocean voyage, this year is your chance. There will also be boats delivering home from Race to Alaska and Pac Cup as well.

The delivery starts in a backwards manner. The owner decides they would like to do a yacht race, so they have to make arrangements to get their lead bellied money gobbler to the start line and/or somehow get it home after the race has been completed in some far off port. The owner is typically one of those types that wants to attract great crew and give them a chance for a victory at the regatta. This involves writing a lot of checks for yard bills, sails, moorage, insurance, regatta fees, crew shirts, snacks, bail money, safety equipment, more sails and repairs, bottom scrubbing, fuel, electronic software, bribing local officials, custom graphics, commuter toll lanes (okay just spit-balling here), yacht club tabs, registration fees, and fees for another box of checks. In order to generate enough income for this revenue stream the owner is obligated to have a decent paying job and be there to hold on to it. Enter the delivery skipper and crew. These are the folks entrusted with the owners fiberglass hot rod and are tasked with duty of getting either to or from the regatta safely.

Of course these delivery folks are usually super excited to test out that new sail on the way to the regatta but are instructed not to. I would say they are generally trustworthy enough that there is no need to count the silverware, but a close inspection of the liquor cabinet is usually in order.

The owner is always trying to be helpful and set up the delivery skipper with a helpful fellow yacht club member but the savvy delivery skipper usually sees through this ruse, realizing they are just a spy and declines the offer. The delivery crew is often primarily comprised of the racing crew that are trying to do all they can to curry goodwill from the owner to one day get a chance to drive on a fine afternoon or at least trim the kite on a sleigh ride. Sometimes though, they are the former rockstars on the boat that have now been replaced by the new rock stars and the only way they will get a chance to do the race at all is if they volunteer to do the delivery. On rare occasions the delivery crew is a group of talented, knowledgeable sailors who have not oversold their abilities in an effort to weasel their way on board. This, of course, is rare.

“Deliveries are the way to get that experience you always wanted. You want to become a better driver? Usually the delivery skipper is only too happy to sip coffee and criticize your technique.”

The delivery skipper may or may not have a list of letters and numbers after their name designating certificates and degrees that are commensurate with their experience. More likely, it’s someone with more gray in their coif than anybody else and a take-charge attitude that ends up leading the way. This is slowly changing as some insurance companies want a licensed individual, if not the owner, aboard. But it is certainly not standard yet. Further, I would argue that although it used to be a fairly high standard requiring an extensive sea-time log, it appears there is quite a variety among the licensing outfits and some scoundrels are getting through. They probably always have, but there sure are a lot of stories around the yacht club watering holes of boats getting towed in or having avoidable mishaps. Don’t get me wrong, there are also terrific licensing outfits that have high standards and reputable instructors. If you are going to spend your shekels for one of these courses make sure you get your money’s worth and not just a fancy piece of paper to hang on the bulkhead.

It is the delivery skipper’s responsibility to ensure the boat is ready for the voyage to be undertaken. The owner will assure him all is well: fuel tank full, propane full, all sorts of fine victuals are aboard, batteries charged, all navigation equipment in order. Invariably, this is not the case but the seasoned delivery skipper knows they will be held accountable for anything amiss at the journey’s end. Inevitably, they are head-down-butt-up trying to ferret out what needs to be taken care of prior to casting off mooring lines. Generally, the start of the regatta is just hours away, the barometer is dropping like a bride’s undergarments, the current is foul, and the destination straight upwind from wherever the boat is typically moored. Now, instead of the leisurely cruise the delivery crew had signed up for they spend their time taking care of all the items that never got quite checked off the list. Hey if it was easy everybody would be doing it.

The truly important thing, and all levity aside, is that the delivery skipper deliver the boat on time and in racing form at the agreed upon port of call. Find out what the owner wants. Most prefer about a 1/4 of a tank of fuel, empty water tanks, enough propane for cooking, sails dry and stowed, delivery sails removed and waiting to be stashed in crew vehicles when they arrive, refrigerator turned on or ice box ready for fresh chow, boat warm and dry and heater on if weather is cool. People should keep their gear in their bag and if there is an owner’s stateroom or you know which bunk he or she prefers, have it standing tall not stashed full of wet foulies.

The fact that it is 140 miles from Seattle to Vancouver, BC, and a sailboat traveling at six knots makes about 144 miles in 24hrs means that deliveries between most local regattas are a day or less. How hard can that be? Add in opposing currents, fouled fuel filters, and bad attitudes and it can make for a long day. Of course, the delivery skipper is tasked with handling all this with aplomb. In fact if he is playing his cards correctly he can turn a one day delivery into two, slipping in a stopover at Friday Harbor, Anacortes, Port Townsend or Gig Harbor, depending on where the vessel is destined for.

Andy1Ocean deliveries are a whole ‘nother ball game. If you are heading out into that whale pasture, even just to Astoria, you need to know what you are doing and your crew does as well. I often hear of people saying they will do a shakedown cruise to San Francisco before jumping off for Hawaii, usually the trip to SF is far more uncomfortable than the slide to the land of coconuts. Some barfly will tell you that you want to stay off the coast at least 100 miles because that’s what it says on some pilot chart from 1855. But with modern weather forecasting, a 500mb chart is a more powerful tool. Choose these passages wisely, they cannot always be driven by the fact the race starts in less than 24 hrs. The prudent mariner does not follow a schedule driven by land-based factors. Watch weather patterns and query folks that do that particular passage a lot. I cannot believe how the information super highway has created such an unedited morass of poor sailing advice.

Deliveries are the way to get that experience you always wanted. You want to become a better driver? Usually the delivery skipper is only too happy to sip coffee and criticize your technique. It’s the mark of a great sailor that can easily criticize another. The same goes for sail handling, bilge scrubbing, galley work and all those other areas you would like to improve on. Mostly deliveries are genuinely fun. You get to experience that 3/4 of the earth that God covered with water, he must have intended us to spend some time out there.

Andy Schwenk is a USCG 100 Ton licensed Master and the owner of Northwest Rigging. He has 42 Pacific transits to his credit and at least one win in every major local regatta.

Join us at the Seattle Boat Show!

The Seattle Boat Show, Indoors + Afloat, is the Largest Boat Show on the West Coast. It features over 1,000 recreational watercrafts, from stand-up paddleboards to super yachts and many vessels in between. It has more than 3 acres of accessories, more than 200 free boating and fishing seminars and the latest accessories inside at CenturyLink Field.

Our location at the show will be space #27.

For those of you who join us at the Seattle Boat Show, we’re offering you 15% off on your next boat inspection.

The Northwest Rigging program schedule for the 2016 Seattle Boat Show:

2:00pm January 31st – How to upgrade your Sailboat by Andy Schwenk.
Located at Stage 4 on the club level.

5:15pm January 31st – Spinnaker Furling by Andy Schwenk.
Located at Stage 5.

6:00pm February 2nd – Let’s go Offshore by Andy Schwenk.
Located at Stage 2.

4:00pm February 3rd – You and your sailboat by Andy Schwenk.
Located at Stage 2.

2015 Seattle Boatshow

Northwest Rigging will be at the 2015 Seattle Boatshow Jan 23th-January 31st. This is the largest boatshow on the West Coast and is a ton of fun.

We are located at booth West 22—same spot as last year—in the West Hall of Century Link Field Events Center with all the rest of the luminaries in the Pacific Northwest sailing community. Read more

Northwest Rigging at the Seattle Boatshow!

Northwest Rigging will be at the Seattle Boatshow Jan 25th-February 3rd. This is the largest boatshow on the West Coast and is a ton of fun. We are located at booth West 22 in the West Hall of Century Link Field Events Center with all the rest of the luminaries in the PNW sailing community. If you are one of our loyal customers please call the shop and we can leave tickets at the “will call” window for you and a guest. This year we are featuring Bamar electric headsail furling and spinnaker furling, we also have samples of “Strong Track” for your mainsail to cover all three of the prime movers aboard your boat. Except for the engine of course, you will need to see Howard and the crew at North Harbor Diesel for that monster!

Miami Carnival Cruise Ship Rigging Job

Northwest Rigging has been retained as a preferred provider for Cap Sante International. CSI provide service for cruise ships world wide mainly lifeboats and ADA accessibility projects.

The NWR crew was working aloft to rebuild a waterslide on the Carnival Cruise Lines ship “Valor” on this trip from Miami to Cozumel. Although they took some heat from the sun and the younger clients aboard ship, the NWR crew got the job done under time and under budget.

Cozumel was once the heart of the Mayan Empire so once ashore our quest was to see if there were any 2013 calendars for sale or if the Mayan forecast for 1250 Fahrenheit for the 21st was true. In any case innovative solutions and a “git’er done” attitude was the heart of this project and the Northwest Rigging crew did just that in fine style.

NW Rigging in Portugal

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During the first part December the Northwest Rigging crew traveled to Setubal, Portugal to work on the Windstar Cruise Lines vessel “Wind Spirit”. This ship was built in 1986 and has 4 very innovative masts fitted with roller furling. The masts and spreaders are aluminum and they are welded to mild steel at the joints and spreader tips using an explosion joint. The metals are fused together using an explosive process. As you can see from the pictures the rigging is huge by yacht standards. The clevis pins at the spreaders are 3″ thick by 9″ long. The cotter pins are 3/8″ by 4″!

Andy Schwenk the owner of Northwest Rigging ran a crew of ten men for two weeks as we labored aloft and alow while the ship was dry docked to upgrade a series of issues presented by these rigs. The vertical shrouds are discontinuous and each 50′ by 2 1/4″ diameter piece weighs over 1200 lbs.

Our task was to replace 3 of these pieces while the rig was still vertical. In addition a large amount of corrosion control, installing new fittings, sanding, painting, and surveying for future work was accomplished. The roller furling was serviced by hydraulic technicians. The ship was a beehive of activity with sandblasting, metal cutting, welding, needle gunning, priming, painting and the like.

Several hundred workers from all over the world were aboard each day. The entire interior was renovated from ceiling to floor. The deck boards of 1″1/4″ teak by 16′ were lifted to access the mild steel underneath. If you think you have a big boat you probably do, but it is likely not the largest we have ever worked on!

5 free services provided in every Rig Inspection

Northwest Rigging provides great value added services to all of our  Rig Inspections:

1.  Digital photo of your masthead and your boat from the masthead.

2.  Clean off mildew from the underside of your spreaders and radar dome.

3.  Check lighting

4.  Lubricate masthead sheaves.

5.  Measure and record rig tension.

All done at no additional cost to our customers!

Call Northwest Rigging to do your rig inspections.

Excellent customer service is our priority

This comes directly from our customer:

Hi Andy,

Thank you for turning around the new linelines for us so quickly.  It is refreshing that I don’t need to follow up that you received our package, call you numerous times to check on the status or request the invoice.  Not to mention the quality work you always do. This is why I keep recommending you to customers when it is best for them to go direct and calling you myself whenever needed.

Have a great weekend, I’m so glad you do what you do!

Vice President Jensen Shipyard