Thursday, February 14

Oil Spill Jerks: Pay Me $540

No pictures here. Just a fat check for five hundred forty peanuts. And no cents. We feel really good about this one, sticking it to the insurance company of the Cosco Busan for the oil residue on our hull. The money will be used to clean up the boat and if anything is left we will probably go out to eat. LJS most likely. Trying to keep the money in the nautical family. It's a sailor thing.

In other news, we've been through the worst of the winter storms I think. A lot of rain and tons of wind have kept the Murray from leaving his mooring for a few months, but things are soon to change. The last few weeks have seen us on deck making general repairs and getting him ready for sailing season in Marchish. We'll see. And if the weather is bad in March, we can just blame it on the Cosco Busan or Bush or even the French. Anyhow, make your plans to visit soon. We miss you already.

Wednesday, December 5

Totally rad on the visitor tip, yo.

Oh my gosh you guys, having a boat isn't easy! I feel like we've been out on that sucker every weekend since we bought it, and there are still things to fix up. Part of the reason we haven't made much progress was the fact that we had so many fun visitors in the last month or so.

After the Derek and K-Bro slam dunk, we had another sweet run of back to back weekends. First was Ed and Linda, who actually got to enjoy sailing under wind power but had to trade the thrill of sailing for the thrill of seeing. I think the visibility was around 200 yards or so in the fog channel that flows west-to-east through the gate. Linda was freaked out by all the container ships that we could hear zooming back and forth but never saw and repeatedly said something about how it would be nice to head back to the mooring. I talked her out of it every time until we finally got a glimpse of Alcatraz, then we headed home.

The following weekend Alex, Nathan, Ragan and Craig were in town so we went out again. This time no wind but plenty of excitement. First the prop became fouled by some plastic sheeting and stalled the motor out. Luckily we didn't lose the shear pin and Ellie managed to untwist the sheeting while hanging overboard. As soon as the motor was started again, a plastic bushing on the motor mount exploded due to old age and UV embrittlement. This whole time we are drifting towards the gate and the open ocean at maybe 5 knots. Another quick fix later we limped back to the mooring, tied up and drank beers. Although it was a downer to cut the trip short, I think we had more fun anyhow not having to talk over the motor.

Last weekend we went out and stayed the night again. Ellie did some varnishing of the external teak and I installed our new battery and removed the busted motor mount. We also managed to put in a new mooring chain and set a third anchor on the mooring, just in time for the 30 knot winds that came ripping through the area on Sunday and Monday. Expensive chain, but well worth the extra sleep you get on a windy night, whether you are on the boat or not. So that's that. More repairs to come and maybe more visitors? We'll see.

Friday, November 16

Cap'n Derek and the Oil Spill

Looking at the blog, you might think we haven't been out on the water lately, but you would be not correct. Derek was here the weekend after Halloween for the demi-annual Loft party and we took him out to the Murray again for a cruise around the bay. There wasn't much traffic so we let him call the shots and take the helm. This time of year there isn't as much wind so we just motored over to Alcatraz and SF for up close views of all the tourists and the Bushman. More dolphins and a bunch of hungry seagulls later, Derek was appeased.

The following Wednesday some moron crashed a freighter into the bay bridge and killed a bunch of seabirds with oil. Although it kept most of the pleasure craft off the bay, the crew of the Murray, this time under the watchful command of Lt. JG Kimbro, took to the water in support of the cleanup efforts. Basically the whole situation stinks for the animals unlucky enough to not know how to watch the news, although from what we are learning after the fact, this whole thing didn't really get the proper publicity from the beginning. It leaves one thinking there has to be a better way to do things. From fuel tank location planning to bad weather navigation to spill response a lot of things could and should change.

Sunday, October 28

Alcatraz -> Golden Gate Bridge

Five days on shore is plenty of time to get you excited for the next trip out. We had planned on taking Nyree, Hunter, Dave and Dan out today, but rather than wake up early and drive to the boat, we opted to spend last night on the Murray for the first time. After a few hours of general boat stuff to get him ready for all the visitors, we paddled into town for dinner and a few drinks at the local working class bar. Once back at the boat, we were treated to a perfectly calm evening free of waves or sounds. Woken by the rumble and the wake of the local commercial fishing fleet making their way out to sea, I managed to take a few pictures of the sunrise before falling back asleep to wait for our visitors to arrive. We met the rest of the crew just across the channel at the dock and set out for the bay. Unlike last time out, there wasn't much wind to speak of when we left the protection of our harbor so we just motored to Angel and Alcatraz islands and drank a bunch of beer. As we rounded Alcatraz the wind started to pick up so we pulled the motor out of the water and sailed out past the gate before turning home. Things we saw on this trip of note: a mother and baby dolphin, seagulls, jellyfish, pelicans, brown jellyfish (rare), harbor seals, kite boarders, Alcatraz agaves, a B17 Flying Fortress (I think), a sea lion tearing a fish apart under the bridge, tugs, barges, container ships and so on. So, you can see, it was quite an eventful day.

Sunday, October 21

How Murray Got His Groove Back

Two months after we bought him, we find ourselves underway on the Murray's maiden voyage. The forecast was for light to no wind, but we had planned on spending our sunday on the water so we were going to just motor around if that was all we could do. El Hondito is a fine outboard, and carried us swiftly south in the direction of Alcatraz and SF. As we left the protection of Richardson Bay we were treated to the sight of a number of other sailboats heeled over pretty hard in what turned out to be a strong 15 knot wind from the WSW through the gate. Just as we finished putting the main sail up we crossed out of the wind shadow cast by the Marin headlands and we were sailing. I went up front to raise the jib sail and Ellie took the helm and plotted a mental course west to the bridge. We ended up tacking five times against the incoming tidal current and passed under the bridge on a strong port tack, waving to a number of excited children on the bridge deck. We took a few pictures of our feet outside the gate, a new Murray tradition, and enjoyed the scenery, but the sun was getting low over the endless Pacific horizon so we turned around and made a quick exit, this time with both the wind and the current at our back. An hour later we were back on the dock deflating Thingy and turning our noses up at million dollar yachts that look under appreciated. Next week we hope to repeat today's success but with some of The Murray's other crew members on board.

Wednesday, October 17

Our New Addition

The Murray is proud to announce the addition of our newest team member, a 2005 5HP Honda 4-stroke long shaft outboard. I picked her up in a gravel lot at an oil recycling facility in Newark, CA at about 8:45 last night. I left everything I knew about the seller with Dan and Dave in case I didn't return home, which wasn't necessary as the guy was really nice and just happened to work the second shift in the shadiest part of the east bay. So that's that. This was the last piece of the puzzle we needed before we were going to leave the safety of our mooring buoy. Soon you will find this page littered with photos and tales of grand adventure on the high seas or something like that. Yaaarrr.

Thursday, October 11

More Important Than This Silly Boat Anyhow

We would like to welcome the newest member of, aw heck, look at how sweet she looks. Keep yourself up to date on her wonderful world at:

Tuesday, October 2

NOAA Nautical Chart On-Line Viewer

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has a nice site where you can have a look at their nautical charts. It has an interface much like other map sites. Click to zoom, click and move to pan etc. It has been helpful for dreaming up longer trips outside the bay. Click here for the bay, or here for everywhere else.

Tuesday, September 25

Amassing A Crew

Insert theme music from Gilligan's Island here.

Josh, Nick and Derek came to town for the Cal/Arizona game and so we thought we'd take them out to The Murray for a few hours in the life of a sailor. Brooks wore his chick repellent all weekend, which conveniently made him look like a stevedore. Magnan insisted on sanding the handrails despite my pleas that he just relax like Derek. Thingy The Dinghy was proof tested to about 830 pounds, which is 300 pounds over the listed maximum capacity. She performed beautifully with no incidents. On The Murray, we took the VIP tour of Sausalito without hauling anchor, snapped some pictures and enjoyed the mostly sunny day. Once back on shore, The Sausalito Chili Cook-Off was wack. The guys drove home and we began to reap the rewards of having The Murray to draw our friends to town. Everybody knows the drive home on Sunday is the worst part of the weekend. Eliminated!

Thursday, September 20

National Talk Like a Pirate Day

I woke up this morning to find that an anonymous donor had left this pirate-like inflatable doll face down on my front porch next to an empty bottle of brandy and was reminded that yesterday was national "Talk Like a Pirate Day." Arrr, I'm so mad that I forgot to celebrate it.
Hopefully this will be the only pirate run-in that the TVM crew will have, but I'm beginning to think more seriously about Chris' idea of having a potato gun on deck...just in case.

Day Sail Options

Here are some of the options when you come visit. Click on the image for details. Seriously, we're waiting.

Thursday, September 13

The Murray teams up wth The American Red Cross (Unofficially)

As part of The Virgin Murray's commitment to the community, we have decided to offer a free day-sail pass to anyone who gives blood to the ARC between now and the end of October. In addition, for each friend you take to the donation center, we'll toss in various extra items. One friend buys you snacks and drinks for the ride, two earns you that plus captain-for-a-day status where all navigational decisions are yours (within reason) and three gets you all of the above plus a yet to be made TVM Crew t-shirt. I assure you these shirts are going to be hot. All you have to do is snap a picture of you and your friends post donation with your stickers and arm wraps and then come on out to the Bay. What could be easier? In response to Anonymous' question, we'll honor both the 'I Tried' and the 'I Gave' stickers. Derek. Locate a blood drive near you!

Monday, September 10

Logo Ideas

Update: Julka pointed out that The Murray might be easily confused with Tiger Woods' pleasure craft, what do you think? Saw the poll on the right?

What good is a sailboat without a fine logo to strike fear into the hearts of all those who see it? Not as good. So here's what we have. The logo at the very top of the blog was a first attempt. Hunter recently submitted this triangular masterpiece (on the left). It's a sketch only, the final version of the logo will be professionally assembled (as is Tiger's I'm sure). I could see us making a pennant-style flag out of this design as well. So many possibilities. Questions? Comments? Please let our design team know.

Sunday, September 9

This Bud's for you, Lil' Billy

Another big weekend for The Murray. Yesterday we didn't make it to the boat but instead hit Ikea for kitchen ware, a floor mat and some candles. All of which will be critical items soon. Today was a 2-7er that saw us raise the main sail for the first time to check things out, take out the bilge pump for some repairs and reinstall the newly sanded and oiled companionway steps. Also, the cushions in the fore cabin and some random exterior wood pieces were hauled back to the east bay to be re-covered and sanded, respectively. As you can see, the galley is doubling as a workbench and it's hard to take group pictures on a sailboat with a crew of two.

A special shoutout to Jaben Billy and Nina who are expecting a baby really soon. We're all praying she doesn't end up a coal miner like her dad. I took this picture at Ikea just for you Lil' Billy.

Wednesday, September 5

Where it's at

I'm not sure, but I think the boat you see on google maps is Murray himself. The Loft and 931 Spruce Goose are also marked if you zoom out a bit. If you have never been to the bay area, have a virtual look around, get excited and then book your flight. We're patiently waiting for you.

Sunday, August 26

Chips Ahoy!

Another weekend, another 12 hours of boat improvement. This time we focused on the elecrical systems and detailing the interior of the cabin. Both are incomplete but significant steps have been made in the correct direction. The whites are whiter and the teak is way teakier. I think the running lights are worked out, the anchor light presents a problem because we always leave before sunset and so it's hard to see if the damn thing (at the top of the mast) is lit. The first pictures are of the million dollar view from our mooring. San Francisco and Alcatraz at dusk to the south, and a Mount Tamalpais sunset to the north. Also, the rat's nest of wires and switches we inherited. Interesting. Oh and of course, Thingy The Dinghy, our all-purpose pier to boat transport. The seagulls in the backgroud were freaking out because of all the noise the foot pump makes. It actually sounds like a seagull. How lucky.

Friday, August 24

on deck

Just thought we should demontrate our boat's exterior layout with a microsoft paint schematic as well.

Tuesday, August 21

Simple Plan Drawings

Here are some simple plan drawings, more or less to scale. The pop-top gives about six feet of headroom in the majority of the main cabin. There is a storage compartment under the starboard bench in the cockpit as well as under all the seating in the cabin. A removable platform and the long port-side bench are connected to form one large bed. We need to mess with it, but the stove will be run off of small camping propane tanks. The head is yucky.

Sunday, August 19

First round of cleaning

Ellie, Dave, Dan and I spent saturday taking care of the majority of the cleaning of the hull and cabin. It's amazing what people will do for a free beer. Anyhow, things are starting to come together. We pulled the carpet out and will find a suitable replacement. Removed a few of the old wooden parts to fix up as well. Yeee haw! More to come.

Who We Are

The Virgin Murray is a sailboat recently purchased by Chris & Ellie for the purpose of drawing our friends and family to the Bay Area to visit. If you need to contact us, send an email to cgrimmer at gmail.