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Boats are meant to move

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-11 14:55

Two months and change. 71 days, actually (who’s counting?). During the last six years of cruising the only other times we’ve stayed in one place more than two months were when we parked in Australia, and earlier this year in Langkawi. That’s it. Even the places we’ve stopped for more than a month only amount to a handful: we may not move quickly, but we like to be moving. Nomadic living is our baseline.

Of course, we didn’t have much of a choice this year. Sitting in the marina was a far cry from our grand plans of cruising in Borneo and the Philippines, but it’s great peace of mind to have worked through our engine troubles.

Pulling out of Puteri Harbour a couple of days ago was an incredible, liberating feeling. Being on the move again, listening to water swish along the hull, feels SO GOOD! Sailing would have been cathartic, but there wasn’t  wind to work with. On the other hand, we needed the all-out long motoring days to test the engine. It passed: no overheating, and the coolant levels remained perfect. FINALLY.

Anchoring off islands in the Strait of Malacca, a weight is lifted. The call to prayer echoes from a mosque as our home once more rocks gently, lulling us to sleep. The sun sets behind the Liberty 458 Solstice, followed by a spectacular full  moon in brilliant jack o’lantern orange, reminders that we’re back at the whim of the natural world instead of pinned to a manufactured one.

We’re now on a slow march northbound. Solstice is traveling with us, which aside from offering great company, means we get picture of Totem- that’s Bill’s picture at the top. Thanks, Bill, for having a camera ready during the five minutes we actually got to sail yesterday! OK, almost sail. Fine, we were motorsailing. But it looked good, and we picked up speed and fuel efficiency. Right? Well, at  least we didn’t have any of the infamous Sumatras, although the squall-dodging was “interesting” and some of the lightning too close for comfort.

Our days were uneventful enough to goof around with photos of the commercial traffic that’s on a constant flow along the Strait; our younger mermaid practices her tanker-lifting technique below. I start writing down the different destination ports showing up on their AIS data: Mumbai, Futong, Sikka, Nazira, Yangon, Columbo. Far off destinations, the kind that get your mind wandering.

You know about the five gyres, right? How much comes from this corner of the world? How much floats in? We see it constantly. There is trash around the boat, in volume, most of the time. I played with the contrast to pull them out in this photo…commercial vessels in the Malacca shipping lanes in the distance.

Then there was tanker under a Zanzibar flag, oddly parked outside the port zone, AIS turned off, small boats (with more crew than the normal local fishing boat) in close quarters. The ship didn’t answer when hailed by name over VHF 16. We’re not far from a major global piracy zone, and it stood out as odd, so Jamie reported it when we arrived in Port Dickson a short while later.

I’m grateful to the marina friends in Puteri who gave us an unforgettable sendoff. Gifts for the girls from the kids on Madrona and Capricorn Dancer. At departure, an alpine horn salute at the dock, and kazoos and pompoms from shore. Cruisers are a fun bunch! Seriously, though, the kazoo gets bit points for style and eardrum friendliness compared to an air horn (adds to list for boat inventory…).

 

Next stops: playing tourist in Malacca, Kuala Lumpur, and Penang!

Followers on the move know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

Volcanic Eruption and Shockwave in Papua New Guinea

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-11 11:09

This is something you don’t see every day while cruising along. Full story here.

Antenna masts: Edson Vision & more

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-11 10:00

Written by Ben Ellison on Sep 11, 2014 for Panbo, The Marine Electronics Hub

So far, so good. Finishing up Gizmo’s antenna mast was the last minute task before heading south, but nothing fell on our heads during the often lively passage to the Cape Cod Canal and around into Long Island Sound. Most of the new installs up there worked too, though we experienced a couple of very odd MFD issues that I’ll write up once I understand them better. For the time being I’ll just repeat a venerable adage: Do not rely on any one source of navigation information. Now let’s discuss the Edson Vision and custom mounting hardware I used for the antenna farm…

So Gizmo now has two antenna platforms bolted to the spreaders as well as a new mast cap, all custom made in aluminum by Maine metal wizards Rockport Steel. The concept is to get a lot of antenna mount options fairly clear of the steel shrouds without adding a lot of weight. By extending the cap in four directions I also got better positions for the LED flood lights and the two ultrasonic wind sensors, as well as a flag hoist further abaft the mast.

I also used an Edson Vision series six-inch mount to get the Flir camera a little higher and also to make it easier to install, troubleshoot, or (sadly ;-) return. My initial Edson order, though, wasn’t well thought out. Working through all the Vision options you’ll find at that link I got intrigued with adding a curved arm with a combination Perko LED steaming/anchor light on top. Above you can see the 10.6-inch plate needed to hold the camera as well as the light arm bracket. It all goes together nicely and Edson includes the bolts needed to attach camera and bracket to plate and then plate to mount, plus containers of the anti-sieze gunk you should use where stainless meets aluminum.

But when I saw the big plate and light arm in the flesh I realized that combining them with Gizmo’s peace-sign-like Electrotechnologies lightning inhibitor was too much. That’s when the Vision modularity — and also the great Edson service I recently wrote about — came into play. I sent back everything but the mount while they shipped me a 7-inch plate that matches the camera diameter.

Here’s the mast cap going together. It’s thicker (and heavier) than needed — I gave Rockport Steel lot’s of latitude so they could use material in stock — but I made lemonade out of lemons by tapping threads for many of the fastenings. It may have been a little quick and dirty to spray on Rustoleum Professional Aluminum Primer and topcoat but the paint certainly went on easily and seems to have adhered well. Time will tell…

Here’s the cap yesterday afternoon here in Northport, Long Island, about 330 miles down the road to Baltimore. Maybe I’ll get around to sawing off those bolt ends eventually, but then again maybe they’re a further discouragement to the birds who seem to avoid Gizmo’s mast anyway. Note the nice high view, which of course is available via the Flir or any pan-and-tilt camera.

As a bit of an experiment I had standard 1″-14 thread marine antenna base nipples welded on to minimize weight and hopefully improve the looks. You can see on the starboard platform that the idea worked fine with a Globalstar Sat-Fi antenna (I’m testing Iridium GO too), a WiFiRanger Marine, and the Wilson marine cellular stick. Some antennas won’t work with my scheme, though, like the Digital Antenna 695-3000 MHz Bullet below (first discussed after the Miami Show). It comes with that custom stainless base which has enough internal diameter to fit an LMR400 cable with an N connector. So you make the connection with the cable run through the base and then finish the install with those tiny screws between base and bullet, which is possibly tricky business when you’re up a mast. But then again I think the Bullet combined with a Wilson Sleek 4G cradle booster is partially responible for the very fast cell data connection I’m enjoying right now.

At any rate, we’re underway now and it’s just dumb luck that we’ll be going through New York Harbor on 9/11. You see where we are via DeLorme InReach satellite tracking and often via Marine Traffic. Rest assured that Gizmo will be flying more than the flag of Maine.

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3 for 3 in 86

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-09-10 15:27

Paul Todd/OUTSIDEIMAGES.COM

Catapult-ed to the Top of the Standings
Opening Day Action of Inaugural J/70 World Championship. By Jan Harley/Media Pro

NEWPORT, R.I. (September 9, 2014) – It may have been mostly cloudy for the opening day of the 2014 J/70 World Championship presented by Helly Hansen, but one standout bright spot was the performance of Joel Ronning of Minneapolis, Minn. Sailing Catapult with long-time crew Victor Diaz De Leon of Venezuela, and San Diego sailors Willem Van Waay and Bill Hardesty – the latter the 2011 Rolex Yachtsman of the Year – Ronning drove to win three out of three races sailed on a lumpy Rhode Island Sound.

New York Yacht Club’s Race Committee started the 86-strong fleet in a 18-20 knot ENE breeze which moderated slightly over the subsequent two races. Between the strong breeze and the sea state – the swells did not subside until the tide change late in the day during the third and final race – competitors were given a healthy workout.

Ronning holds the lead in the standings with three points over local sailor Tim Healy (Jamestown, R.I.) on Helly Hansen who posted a consistent 2-2-2 for six points.

Healy, the current J/70 North American Champion, is sailing with Geoff Becker, Gordon Borges and Paula Abdullah. Having long been a dominant force in the J/24 class, Healy got into the J/70 because of the family atmosphere. “Everyone is willing to share ideas on how to sail the boats better and how we can make a stronger J/70 class. The competition is fierce but the focus for sure is to have fun racing and to make good friends along the way.”

Healy summed up the hurdles facing competitors who will be racing in Newport for the first time during this championship. “The biggest challenge will be figuring out how to sail the boats in the open water of Rhode Island Sound. The current is difficult to figure out (I am not sure anyone has it figured out) and predicting the wind shifts is also difficult. In early September we usually have good wind but it can come from just about any direction. Air temperatures can be anywhere from the high 50s to the low 80s.”

“Our biggest challenge will be to keep working as a team through the difficult times,” added Healy. “In a large fleet like this and on a big racecourse, there will be many difficult situations when we will need to stay focused on just getting up the course as fast as we can, and not dwelling on mistakes.

2013 BACARDI® Miami Sailing Week class champion Brian Keane of Weston, Mass., at the helm of Savasana, is one point behind Healy, in third overall, followed by Brazil’s Mauricio Santa Cruz on Bruschetta with 15 points. Rounding out the top-five is San Francisco’s Jim Cunningham on Lifted with 16 points.

The September 8-13 competition is being hosted by New York Yacht Club at Harbour Court, with regatta headquarters at Sail Newport, Rhode Island’s Public Sailing Center.

About the J/70 – The J/70 introduces a new dimension of fun, fast sailing in a stable, easy to own boat. A natural evolution of its J pedigree, the J/70′s 22-foot long waterline with high aspect, all carbon rig and deep, lifting bulb keel provides spirited performance and stability that feels like a much larger boat. Since its introduction, in March 2012, the J/70 has quickly established itself worldwide with 600+ boats sailing in 20+ countries. The J/70 Class was awarded ISAF One Design status in November 2013.

International Canoes and the Individual Touch

Sail Feed - Wed, 2014-09-10 12:16

Here’s a class that holds a world championship every three years—only.

Here’s a class that’s not right for everyone.

And here’s a class that’s addictive for a certain few. Their newsletter is called The Sliding Seat.

Erik Simonson/PressureDrop.US has been following the action, hosted by the Richmond Yacht Club. There’s a “Richmond Riviera” thing going on, but the breeze has touched twenty at times, so everyone will go home knowing they have sailed on San Francisco Bay . . .

This video is a few years old, but if you’re intrigued, here’s where you will find the International Canoe story.

Maritime industry and safety at sea: infographic

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-09 20:20

I’ve been thinking a lot about safety at sea lately, as we get ready for next year’s Indian Ocean transit- waters that have a well earned reputation as dangerous to mariners. So when Bracken Foam Fabricators sent me this infographic on maritime safety, it got  my attention. (Mum, I promise we will stay away from any “piratey” waters, even though the trend is in our favor- as the graphic shows!) Thanks Max, for sending this along! When we make it to Ireland, I hope you’ll come visit Totem.


Safety conscious folks know we love it when you read this on the Sailfeed website.

Podcast: Chris Museler, Round 2

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-09 12:58

Chris Museler is back for another inspiring chat with Andy. Last they talked, Chris had just returned from an Atlantic crossing aboard HUGO BOSS, covering the double-handed race as a media crew for the NY Times. Chris explains what’s happening with all the video footage he took (it’s very cool). They continued to chat about how he got into sailing journalism, the big-time sailing he’s done competitively, and lots more. 

BLUE PLANET TIMES 2014-09-09 11:30:15

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-09 11:30

G’day. As many of you know, there was a press conference last night (I mean, today) in London (London?) regarding plans for the next competition for the alleged America’s Cup, allegedly held in trust by the Golden Gate Yacht Club of San Francisco.

The affair was attended by the skipper of the defending team, Jimmy Spithill, and the skippers of five challengers representing Italy, France, New Zealand, Sweden, and the UK. Apparently the organizational structure of the event does not presently support someone who could deliver a summary of events. Meanwhile, I have other matters on my plate and little interest in sitting through a video of the proceedings. I’ll find out soon enough. But for those who must have it now, here it is:

Of more interest to some of us, frankly, Sailing Anarchy today published the SFPD report on the death of Andrew Simpson (the Artemis breakup) along with a defense of its, shall we say, underwhelmed reporting of America’s Cup Progress.

Timing is everything.

I said that—Kimball

SINGLEHANDED CRUISING WOMEN: Liz Clark and Nike Steiger

Sail Feed - Mon, 2014-09-08 22:32

Just because I’m aware of (and somewhat amused by) the fact that many, if not most women on cruising boats have been lured aboard by the men in their lives doesn’t mean I think this is proper or desirable. Au contraire. It is not nearly as common as I wish it was, but it is certainly not unheard of for women to sail boats of their own alone and unaided. Of course, we can all tick off the names of several solo women racers, but there are also a few solo women cruisers out there who aren’t nearly as well known. Everyone remembers names like Tania Aebi and Laura Dekker, but they gained their notoriety setting records. I bet not too many remember women like Julia Hazel, who built herself a boat and quietly cruised around the world on her own during the 1980s and ’90s.

Women like this are important, I think, because they serve as real-world role models for both women and men who aspire to cruise under sail–for women, because they demonstrate that women are clearly capable of sailing and maintaining a boat on their own, and for men, because they demonstrate it is possible to bring a very different mind-set to the game.

Two of the solo women cruisers I’m most interested in these days are Liz Clark (see photo up top), who sails an old Cal 40 called Swell, and Nike Steiger, who sails a twin-keeled aluminum Reinke Super 10 named Karl.

This viddy clip here, from a film called Dear & Yonder, about women surfers, gives a good sense of Liz Clark’s adventure. She was a top competitive surfer in California–the 2002 collegiate Women’s National Champion–who also had spent six months cruising Mexico with her family when she was a child. After graduating from school with a degree in Environmental Studies, she pursued a dream of skippering and cruising aboard her own boat so she could explore remote surf breaks and minimize her footprint on the planet.

Liz took off from California in 2005, has been cruising around the Pacific ever since aboard Swell, and has been blogging about it since 2008. In case you’re wondering about the “Love and the Single Cruising Girl” aspect of Liz’s journey, I recommend you start your perusal of her blog with this post here, which describes a disturbing relationship she got involved in in French Polynesia. It gives an idea of how courageous and level-headed she is.

Liz with her boat and boards, basking in the Big Blue

Another sort of aerial shot: Nike installs her homemade mast-steps

Nike Steiger is an entirely different story. She didn’t have the serious sailing and water-sports experience starting out that Liz had, but she still had a big dream about doing some cruising on her own. I wrote a bit about her last year, so check out this previous post to learn about her background and details.

I’m bringing her up again, because I’ve been faithfully following her YouTube viddy channel and continue to be amazed by her resourcefulness and tenacity.

In this installment here she tells about learning that Karl, her beloved boat that she has been struggling to prepare for sea for months, is badly corroded and riddled with holes that need repairing. She admits she’s about ready to throw in the towel, and if it had been me, frankly, I probably would have.

But she persisted! And in her most recent viddy we find her afloat and out of the boatyard at last, living the cruising life, about to strike out on a passage on her own.

What fun. I can’t wait to see what happens next.

1 Year. 25 Years. Remembering Blackaller

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-09-07 19:11

It was one year ago as of September 7 that race one of the 34th America’s Cup launched on San Francisco Bay.

It was 25 years ago on September 7 that Tom Blackaller died of a heart attack at the wheel of a race car. Being Tom, he got the car off the track and safely shut down, first.

And it was Blackaller who agitated for catamaran racing for America’s Cup, and it was Blackaller who told us, “If we ever get the America’s Cup to San Francisco Bay, we’ll show the world how good sailing can be.”

He was right.

Six-time AC competitor and two-time winner Brad Webb on Sunday took Tom’s daughter, Lisa, and her family for a fast-cat ride on San Francisco Bay. The boat, a ProSail 40 of a type that Tom raced in the 1980s, now carries the name Tomcat and on other occasions carries paying passengers on thrill rides not to be forgotten. This day was different, more focused, but also not to be forgotten. Getting under way, Lisa said, “My kids have never seen the Blackaller Buoy.” AKA YRA-16, everybody’s weather mark off Crissy Field. Later I watched Tomcat round the Blackaller Buoy, so I can tell you, that’s taken care of now.

BLACKALLER

I’ve had other occasion to recall Tom. It was the women, not Tom, who named him the Silver Fox. The first time I ever saw the guy, he was flipping a coin with Dennis Conner to decide who was the greatest sailor in the world, and it doesn’t matter how the toss came out. There were no concession speeches. In a history of his yacht club I wrote:

“He was larger than life, and there was an air of danger that followed him, like the danger surrounding the handsome, popular boy in high school who drove too fast and loved mischief; the boy that others followed because some part of them yearned to be that bold, that free, that reckless, that good.”

Tom would have been 74 now, had he lived. Lisa mused, “I wonder what he would have been like?” Leaving unspoken the thought that, like the rest of us, she cannot imagine an old, mellow Thomas David Blackaller. The Tom we knew had to go out like a meteor, leaving a trail of memories of things he had done right, and things he had done wrong. If Tom was no saint, he never committed the sin of being boring. Creating a bio for the National Sailing Hall of Fame, Roger Vaughan recalled the time that Tom finished dead last in an ocean race in Florida and deadpanned to the raised eyebrows waiting on the dock, “Oh, we stopped in Cuba for cigars.”

There also was the rivalry that carried over from Star boat racing to the America’s Cup, when Blackaller and Conner both took up the gauntlet of racing 12 Meters in Newport. And there was that night in Conner’s syndicate house when the fire alarm was ringing and sirens were blaring and Conner looked up at the anxious crew who had come to wake him and declared, “It’s Blackaller.” And he rolled over and went back to sleep.

And he was right, too.

Catamaran footage from back in the day . . .

Space on Tomcat being limited, additional guests sailed on USA 76, the Oracle Racing Boat that made it to the finals of the 2003 America’s Cup challenger eliminations, but lost to Alinghi, which went on to take the Cup. Both boats operate under Webb’s acsailingsf.com. USA 76, in particular, is out almost every day. It was a good day—Kimball

Getting online while cruising

Sail Feed - Sun, 2014-09-07 10:59

How do you get online as an active cruiser?

On one hand, the prospect of cruising means freedom from the always-on, always-connected world. Liberating, right? It can be. But if you’re like me, you might get kind of twitchy. I admit: the first year was hard. It was used to instant gratification for simple tasks. Before long, though, we became accustomed to going without access, and changing the way we consume media to minimizing our use when we could get online.

At the moment, we’ve lucked into a great internet connection. Scoring a login to wifi from the hotel fronting Totem’s marina berth means we have a window of unlimited data on a pretty good signal. The options were suddenly overwhelming, and I posted a “what should we read/watch/download” plea to Totem’s Facebook page, because really, we’re just not in tune with popular media. Among the responses (great ideas, thank you!) was a question: how do we usually get online? So Andrew M., this is for you!

Hello, mobile world

This isn’t intended as a review of all options available, but a window into what we do- as cruisers who want to stay connected. What we do has evolved a lot over the last six years, and I expect it will continue to change with technology. For the last few years, we’ve gotten online almost exclusively by purchasing pre-paid data plans from the mobile network of whatever country we’re in. It’s easy to pick up a SIM card and a data package on arrival, and here in Southeast Asia, cell towers are nearly ubiquitous. With access to that network, it’s not a problem to get online just about everywhere.

You need to have something to put that SIM card in, of course. We use a small portable modem that creates wifi on board for multiple devices to connect. With a smartphone, you can turn it into a hotspot and use a single SIM to get both local phone and online access. Otherwise, a cheaper option is a dongle that just plugs into your computer. The modems are easy to find at retail outlets for mobile service.

What does it cost? The SIM cards are usually just a few dollars, and for about $20 in this region, we get a 30-day data package of four or five gigabytes. There’s no streaming Netflix or ESPN at that price (and often, at the available bandwidth), but it’s fine for weather, news, email, and a good dose of surfing. And, it works just about everywhere we’ve sailed from Indonesia through Thailand.

What about at sea?

When we’re at sea, or countries like Papua New Guinea where mobile networks are scarce, we use our HF radio.  With Airmail and a Pactor  modem, we can get weather from internet sources, pick up news, send and receive email, and update our blog, Facebook, twitter, etc. It’s text only- no pictures!- and the speed is excruciatingly slow, but it gets the job done. It is tremendous to be able to stay in touch from literally the middle of nowhere.

computer lessons on an island without roads, power, water, or a mobile network – PNG

Then there’s Wifi

In 2008, one of the last things we did before sailing south of the border was buy a wifi booster antenna. This was really helpful during our first year in Mexico, since we were often near areas with wifi signals (gringo tourists and hotspots go together) and if we stayed in a spot more than a few days, we could suss out a good network. Most are locked, but buying access directly or patronizing the host business translated internet at anchor later. Then, the Banda Ancha (broadband) service started. When you’re on the move, it’s easier to go with this mobile network service than hunt a decent hotspot when you move to a new place.

finding wifi at a restaurant fronting the anchorage – Mexico

The wifi booster antenna was really helpful for us in parts of the Pacific. French Polynesia had private services with coverage in popular anchorages. It wasn’t cheap, but it was internet access, and anchor in some of the most spectacular places we’ve cruised! I didn’t look into mobile broadband plans back then, and it might be an option now- but from what we hear, most boats do the same thing we did four years ago.

Atuona, Hiva Oa. Insanely expensive and slow, but hey, there was wifi!

In Australia, there weren’t any wifi networks to take advantage of (at least, not affordably) so we switched to broadband mobile. At some point the wifi setup succumbed to the marine environment and we took it down.

Don’t you have a satellite phone?

There’s also an Iridium phone on Totem but buying plans for it come at a high cost, so casual use just isn’t in our budget. However, we anticipate getting a data package before we head across the Indian Ocean next year. For now, we just charge it up once a month and then stash it back in a locker.

If I could add to our setup…

We’re thinking about getting a wifi booster on Totem again, although we haven’t decided yet. Data is relatively inexpensive around here, but I believe the costs and complications will hike when we’re in the Caribbean and Mediterranean. It could also coe in handy next year when we hop through a few countries more quickly than we have been lately, as an alternative to picking up a SIM. I’m also thinking about a booster for cellular signals, to get better use from local networks. For now, though, these are both luxury items that don’t fit in our budget.

Bottom line

If your habits today include streaming entertainment, online gaming, or other high bandwidth fun…there’s a change waiting for you when you start actively cruising! Unless you have deep pockets, the kind of access that’s a basic utility in most suburban homes will go away. If you’re in a country or locality long enough you can tap into postpaid plans that are more affordable, but then you’re probably not cruising anymore.  But for the active cruiser, it’s not such a big deal. You’ll have plenty of new ways to satisfy your needs, and that twitch will go away eventually.

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Accounting For My Time While Waiting For A Visa

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-09-06 23:09

Waiting for our visas to Papua New Guinea is taking forever.  So, what have we been doing in the meantime?

1. Swimming.

2. Going to the park. 3. Preparing for the apocalypse. 4. Looking at giant squid. 5. Braiding anything that stands still long enough. 6. More swimming. 7. Ferris wheeling. 8. Riding the City Hopper free ferry. 9. Hula hooping. 10. Looking at chopped-up orcas and oversized angler fish. 11. School. (not pictured) Call me jaded, but I am bored as stink.  Get me into the jungle, ASAP.

Kids can have big dreams

Sail Feed - Sat, 2014-09-06 14:35

I was a sophomore in High school. I was a percussionist in the school band. I played the snare drum. I was getting “creative” one day in band class when the teacher, a bit of a numb skull, announced that I was now kicked out of the band. Wait till I tell my parents. I was marched off to the office where I sat down with the vice principal while he tried to decide where to put me. It was half way through the quarter and the potential class choices were minimal. “We’ll put you in mechanical drawing.” ” Cool” I thought. I had always liked to draw.

Off I was marched to the mechanical drawing classroom which was a very interesting classroom. It had drawing boards, drafting tools and Mr Kibby. Mr. Kibby was about 6’5″ and 300 lbs. We affectionately called him “the walrus” because of all his chins. But we all liked him. He had a firm and gentle way with rambunctious boys in an all boy class. He kept a tight ship without threatening us. I took to mechanical drawing. In about two weeks I owned that class. Me and a kid named Jay Spearman. Jay was very quiet. But there was no mistaking the fact that we challenged each other to be the first to finish each drafting assignment and to turn out the best work. Before long Mr. Kibby arranged for me to buy my own drafting board, about 30″ by 40″, a T square and a couple of triangles. I had a job after school and I had the money and buying through the school I was able to get the drafting gear pretty cheaply. I wanted to pursue mechanical drawing at home. I credit Mr. Kibby with almost everything I learned about drafting. ” It’s all about line weight Perry” he’d say. “Lettering! lettering! Work on your lettering Perry!” Mr. Kibby was a great guy.

So, there I sat with my little drafting board and my new drafting gear. What should I draw? I had just started sailing. I was quickly getting interested in sailing yachts. ” I know, I’ll draw a boat!” What I drew was my version of a Civil War iron clad battleship. I had no curves and the MERRIMAC type shape lent itself to using a straight edge, But before long I realized that I really wanted to design boats. I had seen a cover of POPULAR BOATING that had a nice cover shot of a Chesapeake 32 on it. I looked at that Rhodes design and to my 15 year heart I thought I had never, ever seen anything quite so beautiful designed by man. “I must do this.” I slowly began buying drafting gear suitable to draw boats. I still have the very first French curve I ever bought. They cost $3.50 each back in those days and I’d save my dough so I could buy them. The full set was about $120 dollars and came in a beautiful wooden chest. $120 was not within my reach but one at a time I collected a good set of curves. But curves limit you to their curves. Sometimes you want a curve that doesn’t exist on a rigid ships curve. I tried some flexible curves but they didn’t work worth a damn. You just couldn’t get a fair line with them. Something was missing in my drafting gear arsenal.

One day I was reading SEA MAGAZINE, an article about a hydroplane designer, Stan Jones, had caught my attention. There was a photo of Stan at his drawing board. Across the top of the drawing board were these “things”. “What the hell are those things?” They looked kind of like whales with prongs stuck in their faces. He had about a dozen of them all in a row. ” What ARE they? I found out later they were spline weights and used to draw curved lines when used with a flexible spline

(See the blog entries on old drafting gear). Spline weights were expensive, $3.50 each and you really needed about ten of them to draw a reasonably long curved line. Shit! That’s $35 That’s not going to happen.  But one by one I began buying spline weights with the money I earned working at Ray’s Meat Market. My parents gave me three weights one Christmas. To me that was a huge gift. I still have all those old spline weights. They are very well used.

Then my geometry teacher Don  Miller became aware that I was drawing boats during class. Like Mr. Kibby he was a kind guy who probably realized that I was not a worthless screw up but a kid that needed some directing. Mr. Miller suggested I join the Corinthian Junior Yacht Club and start sailing My earliest sailing adventures had involved really crummy rental boats and some near disastrous misadventures usually with my non sailing friend along, Jim Barnaby. ” Are you sure this is the way you are supposed to do it?” ” No.” Then Don Miller suggested I call Bill Garden and arrange to visit his office so I could see what I real yacht designer did. I called Mr. Garden, “Call me Bill” and my Dad dropped me off at his office one Saturday morning. I was 15 years old. I showed Bill some of my drawings and he was kind in his response. Bill took me to lunch (you can read the French fry story in my book) and sent me hitch hiking  home with a big roll of some old prints he had laying around. To me they were veritable treasures. I would visit Bill from time to time. Bill didn’t really coach me on designing boats but offered some encouragement and he answered my questions. He’d usually say, “Buy a copy of Skene’s” and let it go at that. But for me to be in Bill’s presence was like walking alongside Buddha. I absorbed.

Tom Larsen in the process of building my new fabulous web site urged me to go through my old files. I always do what Tom says. Rummaging around I found a tube marked “Historic 1″. I opened the tube up and found a roll of old drawings going back to when I was 17 years old. I have older drawings and I suspect there may be another tube marked “Historic 2″ with the older drawings. But as I unrolled these old drawings a couple thoughts crossed my mind. I was blown away by the love, care and craftsmanship these drawings showed. Sure I drew them. But I no longer know that kid so it’s not like it’s me complimenting me. Is it?. I have distanced myself from that high school kid by 51 years.

So now we can cue up the soundtrack for this blog entry, MY BACK PAGES by Bob Dylan,  for dramatic effect,  BYRDS version, this verse works best for my purpose here:

All together now!

In a soldier’s stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I’d become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My existence led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ah, but I was so much older then
I’m younger than that now.

Bass riff fade,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

I’ll give you a tour through some of my very earliest design efforts. Remember, I was a kid without a tutor or teacher. I was learning from reading magazines and books. I was learning by asking questions of anybody I met who knew sailing.  If I had met me back then I would have taken me under my wing and tried my best to help this, tall and skinny, weird kid who wanted to be a yacht designer. Thanks for looking at this stuff.

 

Here’s a good one to get started with. (above) Not sure what I was thinking with any of these but this one looks pretty good today. I see a spade rudder on an obviious cruign boat. That was a bit radical 1964. I was 17 years old. Sheer and profile look alright.

This ketch shows the very beginnings of my work that eventually lead to the CT 54 design. Yes there is too much rake to the masts but it does look “rakish” doesn’t it? All in all I think the proportions aren’t bad and the strong sheer sprig is attractive.

This little gaff sloop has attracted a bit of attention in the past two days. I have one fellow who wants to buy my original drawing. I told him $2,500 and ‘m sticking to that price. This is ART damn it! Look at that sheerline. I sure wasn’t afraid to bend that batten back in those days.  I think this little hooker would probably sail quite well. I would add roller furling to that jib. My “widow maker” sprit is a bit daunting.

Here I am, back in the tail end days of the CCA rule. It looks like I was trying to channel Bill Tripp with this drawing. It look all right to me today considering I was a kid. Rig looks like it is in the right place.

I think this is probably the oldest of the drawings presented here. Clearly I was doing my best “Phil Rhodes” impression. That’s OK. Much of my early work involved trying to imitate the design of a famous designer. In doing so I was trying to get a feel for each designer’s drafting and design style. Like a piano student playing Bach’s WELL TEMPERED CLAVIER. It appears I was working hard on my lettering. I give me an A- for lettering. I think Mr. Kibby might have given me an A.

This double ender is pure “Bob’s fantasy”. I would dream of having a double ender and sailing around the world looking for a Viking Princess to marry. I eventually found on. But she was working at Ray’s Boathouse, across the street from my Shilshole office. We married and had two fabulous boys and now we have two grand children. I still don;t have my salty double ender though. Now I am getting serious. I put some real effort into this drawing. I was clearly very heavily influenced by Bill Garden’s SEAL ketch. That’s OK, I was young and looking for inspiration. Who better to try to copy than Garden? If you squint you might see the eventual origins of the Valiant 40 in this drawing. Yes, I also was working hard to learn how to draw hull lines. It was a challenge at first but I had the time and the energy so I stuck with it and learned the process required to produce a fair hull form. This is a 12′ ferro cement dinghy. The keel sweep is straight from C&C. The rudder is no good at all but the foil is correct. With the table of offsets and the care that went into preparing this drawing it is obvious I was starting to take my modest effort seriously. Why did I publish these old drawings? Pure self indulgence, I guess. I just enjoy looking at them and I thought they might also entertain sailors who are interested in the evolution of yacht design and how students of the craft develop their skills. I hope you had a chuckle. I did.

2014 ROUND ISLAND REGATTA: An Embarrassing and Provocative Outcome

Sail Feed - Fri, 2014-09-05 18:07

I have been tardy in reporting on what happened at the fourth annual Round Island Regatta, held Saturday, August 23, right here in Portsmouth, NH, both because the regatta’s media department has been very slow getting photos to me and because I am a bit embarrassed by the results. After missing last year’s event, I managed again to get Mimi, our trusty 15-foot Drascombe Dabber, to the start line this year. And no, I did not manage to sail her any faster than the other boats (quite the opposite). This distinction went to Class 1 (Sail) winner Joie Paciulli, seen in the photo up top displaying her winning form aboard her banged-up old Banshee. The Banshee proved an ideal boat for the conditions (weight is just 120 pounds with 82 sq.ft. of sail area), which were very light, and Joie (daughter of Bruno Paciulli, head sailing instructor at the Kittery Point Yacht Club) handled it expertly, easily besting the other 34 sailboats in the fleet, which included a Hobie 16 catamaran.

The embarrassing bit has to do in part with my performance on Mimi, which was execrable. I do have a couple of excuses to trot out: a) we were very heavy this year, with three adults and one child onboard; and b) Mimi‘s archaic sprit rig doesn’t work well in very light wind. This led to us sometimes move backwards for extended periods (most noticeably right at the start), thanks to the very strong current. But also I made some truly terrible tactical decisions trying to get around the windward mark, which was, as one competitor described it, “like trying to round Cape Horn,” thanks again to the strong current and fickle breeze. During the first two laps of the course I so misjudged the line to the mark that I twice had to jibe around for another go. Only on the third and final lap did I manage to get around in one attempt.

The other embarrassing fact is that I was actually rewarded for this pitiful effort. Being primarily a non-competitive event, the RIR recognizes only first-place line-honors winners in its three different classes (Classes 2 and 3 are for paddle- and oar-powered craft) and also grants awards to the “Handsomest Boat and Crew” in each class. The grandest prize, which features bestowal of a perpetual trophy plate, is the Sportsmanship Award, “which is presented to the individual whose behavior and seamanship best exemplify the spirit of the regatta.”

Thanks primarily to Tom Brown, of Great Bay Marine, who served as the regatta’s Master of Ceremonies and Color Commentator and regaled the audience with an ongoing comic description of my misadventures on the race course, I was selected as the grand prize winner this year. And really I can’t even say I was honestly a good sport about being the butt of Tom’s stream of abuse, as most of the time I couldn’t even hear it.

So, as I say, thanks to Tom, my name is now being inscribed on the trophy plate, which I get to keep for a year, and I have received (from regatta sponsor Timberland) an absolutely enormous stainless steel quartz watch that could easily serve as an anchor for Mimi.

The watch in question, which was presented to me by Carin Frisk, wife of Timberland CEO Peter Frisk

The sailors mix it up at their class start

Publisher Joe Burke (in yellow hat) and editor Nim Marsh (in red hat), of Points East magazine, the event’s media sponsor, prepare to compete in Joe’s sailing dinghy Scallywag

MC Tom Brown hard at work insulting me

The race committee takes it easy

A Le Mans start for the paddlers

Paddlers in the heat of competition

Sorry, but I don’t have any pix of us sailing in this year’s event. This is what we looked like sailing in the 2012 event, in which we finished second. Mimi also raced in the inaugural event in 2011, in which there were no winners, as the race committee failed to notice who crossed the line first

For a complete list of this year’s winners check here. The regatta this year was a smash success, with 65 entrants in the two paddling classes and 35 entrants in the sail class. Proceeds were donated to the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses, which hosted the prize-giving party.

Many thanks to Robin Normandeau of Chandler’s Loft and Charles Lassen of SEMOSA, the event’s primary organizers, and to the many sponsors: Timberland, Points East Magazine, Piscataqua Savings Bank, People’s United Bank, DeStefano Architects, Keller Williams Realty, Back Channel Canvas Shop, Ellis Insurance Agency, Jackson’s Hardware and Marine, Philbrick’s Fresh Market, Red Hook Brewery, Sanders Lobster Co., Aileen Dugan, Esther’s Marina, Honda Barn, and UBS.

Thanks, also, to Hunter Normandeau for providing most of those pix up there!

2014 ROUND ISLAND REGATTA: An Embarrassing and Provocative Outcome

Sail Feed - Fri, 2014-09-05 18:07

I have been tardy in reporting on what happened at the fourth annual Round Island Regatta, held Saturday, August 23, right here in Portsmouth, NH, both because the regatta’s media department has been very slow getting photos to me and because I am a bit embarrassed by the results. After missing last year’s event, I managed again to get Mimi, our trusty 15-foot Drascombe Dabber, to the start line this year. And no, I did not manage to sail her any faster than the other boats (quite the opposite). This distinction went to Class 1 (Sail) winner Joie Paciulli, seen in the photo up top displaying her winning form aboard her banged-up old Banshee. The Banshee proved an ideal boat for the conditions (weight is just 120 pounds with 82 sq.ft. of sail area), which were very light, and Joie (daughter of Bruno Paciulli, head sailing instructor at the Kittery Point Yacht Club) handled it expertly, easily besting the other 34 sailboats in the fleet, which included a Hobie 16 catamaran.

The embarrassing bit has to do in part with my performance on Mimi, which was execrable. I do have a couple of excuses to trot out: a) we were very heavy this year, with three adults and one child onboard; and b) Mimi‘s archaic sprit rig doesn’t work well in very light wind. This led to us sometimes move backwards for extended periods (most noticeably right at the start), thanks to the very strong current. But also I made some truly terrible tactical decisions trying to get around the windward mark, which was, as one competitor described it, “like trying to round Cape Horn,” thanks again to the strong current and fickle breeze. During the first two laps of the course I so misjudged the line to the mark that I twice had to jibe around for another go. Only on the third and final lap did I manage to get around in one attempt.

The other embarrassing fact is that I was actually rewarded for this pitiful effort. Being primarily a non-competitive event, the RIR recognizes only first-place line-honors winners in its three different classes (Classes 2 and 3 are for paddle- and oar-powered craft) and also grants awards to the “Handsomest Boat and Crew” in each class. The grandest prize, which features bestowal of a perpetual trophy plate, is the Sportsmanship Award, “which is presented to the individual whose behavior and seamanship best exemplify the spirit of the regatta.”

Thanks primarily to Tom Brown, of Great Bay Marine, who served as the regatta’s Master of Ceremonies and Color Commentator and regaled the audience with an ongoing comic description of my misadventures on the race course, I was selected as the grand prize winner this year. And really I can’t even say I was honestly a good sport about being the butt of Tom’s stream of abuse, as most of the time I couldn’t even hear it.

So, as I say, thanks to Tom, my name is now being inscribed on the trophy plate, which I get to keep for a year, and I have received (from regatta sponsor Timberland) an absolutely enormous stainless steel quartz watch that could easily serve as an anchor for Mimi.

The watch in question, which was presented to me by Carin Frisk, wife of Timberland CEO Peter Frisk

The sailors mix it up at their class start

Publisher Joe Burke (in yellow hat) and editor Nim Marsh (in red hat), of Points East magazine, the event’s media sponsor, prepare to compete in Joe’s sailing dinghy Scallywag

MC Tom Brown hard at work insulting me

The race committee takes it easy

A Le Mans start for the paddlers

Paddlers in the heat of competition

Sorry, but I don’t have any pix of us sailing in this year’s event. This is what we looked like sailing in the 2012 event, in which we finished second. Mimi also raced in the inaugural event in 2011, in which there were no winners, as the race committee failed to notice who crossed the line first

For a complete list of this year’s winners check here. The regatta this year was a smash success, with 65 entrants in the two paddling classes and 35 entrants in the sail class. Proceeds were donated to the Wentworth Lear Historic Houses, which hosted the prize-giving party.

Many thanks to Robin Normandeau of Chandler’s Loft and Charles Lassen of SEMOSA, the event’s primary organizers, and to the many sponsors: Timberland, Points East Magazine, Piscataqua Savings Bank, People’s United Bank, DeStefano Architects, Keller Williams Realty, Back Channel Canvas Shop, Ellis Insurance Agency, Jackson’s Hardware and Marine, Philbrick’s Fresh Market, Red Hook Brewery, Sanders Lobster Co., Aileen Dugan, Esther’s Marina, Honda Barn, and UBS.

Thanks, also, to Hunter Normandeau for providing most of those pix up there!

Podcast: Adam Buxton’s Drunken Sailor

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-04 23:00

Sometimes doing the right thing pays off. I was going to just publish this, but in the middle of the night one night decided I’d better ask Dr. Buckles himself if I could use it. I’d want others to do the same with my work. So, not expecting a reply from a comedian of Adam Buxton’s stature, I asked anyway, on Twitter. He immediately responded and said it’d be fine to use it! So thanks Adam! Check him out, one of my favorite comedians, on adam-buxton.co.uk or on Twitter @adambuxton, and enjoy his version of the classic Drunken Sailor song on today’s Essay Friday!

With gratitude for Liebster award blog recognition

Sail Feed - Thu, 2014-09-04 11:53

A few months back, we were nominated for a Liebster award. This award is a personal nod from one blogger to another in appreciation of their work, asking them to answer questions and share the names of blogs they in turn find inspiring. I was flattered, but I ducked (wha…? me?). But then there was a successive nomination, and when a third came in conjunction with a flurry of new visitors to the blog this last week- it seemed the right time to step back, look to the source, and answer some questions about who we are, what we’re doing, and why. With gratitude to Lyndy of Homeschool Ahoy, Tammy from Things We Did Today, and Genevieve of It’s Our Necessity – answers to each of your questions  in turn below.

It’s Our Necessity (SY Necesse)

1) Describe yourself in 5 words. No more, no less.

I live on a boat.

2) What do you blog about? What do you NOT blog about?

Traveling, adventure, alternative lifestyle, family and sailing! I don’t avoid any particular subjects, although I leave out what we eat for breakfast and every detail of every boat project, and tend not to dwell on the negative.

3) You have $10 US to spend, what is the first thing you buy?

A family meal out! Yes, for all five of us. Southeast Asia, where we are now, has excellent and cheap restaurants…we couldn’t afford to eat off the boat in most of the Pacific, and appreciate very much the chance to do so here.

4) What is the worst travel spot you have been to?

Kumai, Kalimantan (Borneo) – it’s one of most wildly awesome places we’ve visited, with everything from orangutans to stick bugs. But massive clear cutting for palm oil plantations and waterways poisoned with mercury from illegal gold mining made it heartbreaking to see. It is the best for what it is now, and the worst for what it is becoming.

5) What is your favourite saying/slang/term you have picked up through your travels?

“OK, OK, OK” – always in triplicate. We first remember hearing it in Papua New Guinea; it’s still common thousands of miles across Southeast Asia. It’s become part of our lexicon.

6) If you were invited to a dress up party what costume would you wear?

After 6 years cruising, there is nothing in my onboard wardrobe would pass at a costume party, except perhaps Beach Bum.

7) What is your favourite drink (alcoholic or not)?

Oh, I do love a kir. And, it’s been a while. A long while!

8) How much wine is too much?

This is a question?

9) What are you afraid of?

Palm oil, plastic trash, big ships with nobody at the helm, and lightning.

10) If you could have one wish granted, what would you ask for?

Can we have a return to a healthy ocean, with sustainable fisheries and clean water? No? Then I’ll take seeing our happy children maturing into happy adults that strive to make their world a better place.

Things We Did Today (SV Dos Libras)

1. What is the one thing you wish more people knew about you? Don’t be afraid to brag here… this is your chance!

I’m not afraid to ignore the common understanding of things. I like to do my own research to arrive at my own conclusions.

2. If you could have EITHER five minutes with a crystal ball OR five minutes with a Genie… which would you choose and what would you ask for?

I’d jump to Genie, starting with a wish to instill in all people, an immutable sense of respect for each other and ending with healthy global ecosystems…and about ten others wishes in between. I can talk very fast!

3. What would you say is your partner’s greatest contribution to your success (current or future) as sailors/cruisers?

Patience and respect.

4. When did you REALLY consider yourself to be a Cruiser? What does the word “Cruiser” mean to you?

The first inkling was several months into our cruising life, when we sailed south across the border and raised our Mexican courtesy flag. At that moment, I became an explorer on a long journey. In Bahia Tortuga a week or so later it truly sank in. Our children were playing in a tide pool, making friends across languages. Our high school Spanish had been resurrected sufficiently to order up a simple, unforgettable meal. We had made it on our own bottom to be in a beautiful place that was far from our original reality, past some invisible point of no return, and it was everything we hoped for.

5. What do you think will be the thing that ends your Cruising journey? And why?

With a nod to Lin & Larry, we hope to be cruising “as long as it’s fun.” Of course, we also have to stay solvent, and with five on board “fun” needs to include everyone- not just me, or Jamie, or a majority. We expected that a desire for normal, grounded living would pull one of our kids to choose land over sea, but they’re on board as much as we are.

6. What was it like the moment that you “decided” to go cruising? What was the catalyst? Or was it a more gradual thing that just happened?

We were always going to go cruising…someday. The year our second child was born, we lost Jamie’s mother. She had just retired, full of hopes and dreams, and was much too young to go. It brought our priorities into sharp focus. What were we waiting for? We made a five year plan, and left.

7. How did your current boat get its name? Have you ever thought of changing it?

She was named Don’t Look Back, a nod to the prior owner’s personal life. It wasn’t for us, so we changed it. We kicked around ideas for awhile (it’s harder than naming a child!). One day Jamie called from work, excited about a name idea. It was Totem, and happily, it still is.

8. What size boat do you/will you cruise on? And if money were no object… would you buy a bigger one.

Totem is 47’ of fun. A bigger boat, probably yes; but not necessarily more length. A wider transom, more freeboard, and more volume in the bow would give more storage and living space with making Totem harder to sail or more expensive.

9. It is often said that before you leave, everyone says they will come visit you, but most never do. Who would you MOST like to come visit you on your boat and why?

Jamie’s mother, to thank her for her sacrifice in making someday happen.

10. Thinking back to before you tossed the dock lines and how you thought cruising would be, what in reality was your biggest misconception? What was your biggest surprise? What was your biggest disappointment? (If you haven’t yet set sail, what do you think WILL Be your biggest adjustments? Sacrifices? Joys?)

I knew it would be trading financial security for family. I had concern that we would struggle at times being around each other all day, every day. We have our moments, but they are rare; and the family time is worth so much more than the financial security that we gave up. My biggest surprise was how much the kids learn by traveling. All the worry about how well the kids would learn onboard, is long gone. My biggest disappointment is that we cannot get to everyplace that we’d like – but happy to try.

Homeschool Ahoy (SV Katsumi)

1. Introduce us to your live aboard family, how many in your crew and how old are they?

Well, there is my husband Jamie and I, both somewhere in our roaring 40’s. Our children are Niall (15), Mairen (12), and Siobhan (10).

2. What sort of boat do you have and would you recommend it for other families hoping to live aboard?

Totem is a Stevens 47 (Sparksman & Stephens design). I do recommend this design for being robustly built while maintaining good performance, being excellent value, easy to handle, and with good kid-friendly space.

3. How did you come to the decision to live aboard?

Covered above.

4. Where are you now and what are your sailing plans, if you have any, for the future?

We are in western Malaysia. The near term is cruising between here Thailand until January, then heading west across the Indian Ocean to South Africa- we expect to arrive there in late 2015. It gets fuzzy after that, but we have a fifteen year old who is “dying” to see the Mediterranean…

5. What’s the best learning experience your kids have had since living aboard that you could pass on to other sailing families for them and their children?

That we are all learning, all the time: it is not something you turn on and off, but the fuel for a lifetime of adventure.

6. What style of education do you prefer for your littlest crew members, are you homeschooling/world schooling/unschooling… or eclectic like me? Have they ever been or will they ever go to a traditional school?

I really don’t like labels for out-of-school learning, because they are all loaded terms. We – all Totem’s crew - learn from the world around us, guided by our passions and interests, and the things we need to achieve our goals.

7. What’s your best memory from the last year?

There are too many great memories to choose just one. They all involve family and friends and a beach, hike, swim, local food, or sundowner.  These aren’t weekend or vacation events, but everyday occurrences – and that’s the beauty of this lifestyle.

8. Name the most challenging experience you have had whilst living aboard and what did you do to overcome it?

Hard to choose between being stung in the neck by a scorpion while in a remote part of one of the oldest cultures on earth (Papua New Guinea) or being awakened by a rat jumping down hatch onto my body. Life is filled with unpleasant surprises, and you just have to deal with the moment and move on.

9. Will you always live aboard or is this just one of the many adventures you hope to share with your family?

Impossible to say, but we have no foreseeable plans to change what we’re doing.

10. What motivates you to blog and what tips can you offer fellow yachty bloggers?

I blog to inspire and motivate other people to follow their dreams for an adventurous life. Hearing from readers with dreams I’ve helped feed, or helped cross the hurdles to live differently, is a tremendous reward. For other yachty bloggers, go from the heart, and only if it feeds your soul as well too: you can’t force it.

Thank you.

A cliche, but it’s true: it’s an honor to be nominated. I’m grateful for the recognition, and for the opportunity to be a little part in helping others fulfill their dreams to live differently. It’s one my primary motivations to keep writing. The Liebster tradition is to nominate others, but the blogging world for cruisers is pretty small, and there are nominations already in and shared for most of my faves already. So instead of punting back, I’m just going to say: there are some beautiful, inspiring blogs out there. I keep my favorites listed on our links page, and I hope you’ll turn there- and to my nominators, Genevieve, Tammy, and Lyndy, to find your own further inspiration. And DANG, but you are lucky to have a wealth to draw from! The handful of blogs in our pre-cruising days are dwarfed by the awesome writing and images coming out now. If there was ever fodder to feed a dream…

Reading this post on the Sailfeed website tosses change into our cruising funds: thank you!

LABOR DAY WEEKEND CRUISE: Lasers and Dogs From Outer Space

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-02 17:47

As is traditional, our annual Labor Day excursion got off to a late start. But after we finally dropped Lunacy‘s mooring pennant in Portland harbor on Saturday afternoon, we instantly found ourselves embroiled in the Laser Atlantic Coast Championship Regatta (see photo up top), which was quite exciting. As far as I know we didn’t actually get in anyone’s way.

If you were there racing that day and have a different opinion, please feel free to correct me on that.

Due to lack of time we didn’t get too far after we extracted ourselves from the race fleet. I thought Cliff Island would be a good bet, given the strong southerly wind and our desire to get in a walk before sunset, so we pulled in there and dropped anchor on the west side of the bay on the island’s north side, away from the overly crowded mooring field on the east side.

Now is as good a time as any for me to offer a small amendment to my first very informative post on this destination: i.e., it can get a tad rolly in here when there’s a strong swell running in from the southeast, as there was throughout our weekend, thanks to the doings, I believe, of Hurricane Cristobal, which had just passed by many many miles offshore in that direction.

Cristobal in action the day before we headed out

Before we went ashore Lucy insisted on being hauled up the mast in the bosun’s chair, but didn’t want to go too far, due to the rolling motion of the boat. Which at least was one advantage to having anchored here.

On shore our walk was immediately interrupted by yet another climb, this one up a tree, which was not rolling.

We ended up hiking the entire length of the island’s eastern spur. We first walked down to the south point, which has a great view of neighboring Jewell Island. Then Lucy suddenly suffered an energy deficit and refused to walk anywhere but back to the dinghy, so Clare sat with her for a bit while I walked up to the north point on my own.

This was a fantastic trail, leading right along the edge of a low cliff facing east, and I was about halfway along it when suddenly a dog appeared. A highly energetic one, a German shorthair retriever, wearing a yellow lifejacket and a weird electronic device on its collar. It ran in circles around for me a moment, then shot off up the trail in the direction it had come from. I followed after it, thinking I would soon meet it and its owner at the end of the trail on the north point. But when I got there, where the trail dead-ended in a lovely grassy spot bordered by cliffs on all sides, there was no sign of the dog.

When I walked back to where Clare and Lucy were and reported I had met a strange dog from outer space that had disappeared into thin air and maybe they could help me find it again, Lucy suddenly became re-energized and was very willing to walk the trail. We didn’t find the dog, but I did snap a nice photo of Clare and Lucy standing on the north point facing west with the anchorage in the background. (See above, and please note the depth of field is skewed a bit. Those rocks to the right of the grass are actually at the foot of a 12-foot cliff.)

The next day, after another walk ashore, we sailed from Cliff Island up to the head of Quahog Bay, to the anchorage around Snow Island, where we planned to hook up with our friends David and Catherine, a pair of novice sailors who were out on their very first cruise together. They got there first and let us know by cellphone that they’d picked up a mooring with another empty mooring right behind it.

Our route from Cliff Island up to Snow Island. The wind was south-southwest, blowing between 20 and 5 knots, depending on our position and the apparent wind angle. We sailed the whole way and did the long DDW bit wing-and-wing without a pole

David and Catherine aboard their new (to them) Ericson

So we picked up that empty mooring, hopped in our dinghy, buzzed over to say a quick hey to David and Catherine, then dinghied all the way across the very large anchorage and up Orrs Cove to Great Island Boat Yard, where we hoped to visit the fabulous Wheelhouse Cafe so as to feed certain crew members who had been too seasick to eat lunch on the boat.

We were mortified to discover the cafe had gone out of business. But the boatyard, in spite of my warning that we weren’t on one of their moorings and that they were making exactly zero dollars off us, loaned us their enormous pickup truck so we could drive down the road to another spot. We were almost there when suddenly my cellphone rang. It was David, who had called to say the owner of the mooring we picked up had just appeared and wanted his mooring back.

Gack!

Long story short: we aborted the cafe run, returned the truck, dinghied all the way back to Lunacy, only to learn the rightful owners of the mooring were Will and Halcyon on Squombus, a Regina 38, who I had met 10 years earlier at the Newport boat show, right after they bought their boat and were representing Regina Yachts in North America.

Will on Squombus the following morning. Regina Yachts now is also out of business, but Squombus is for sale, in case you’re interested

This is about the best outcome you can hope for in a situation like this, and I had a very nice time catching up with the Squombites after I moved Lunacy to yet another empty mooring. We also had a fine meal aboard with David and Catherine that evening, but next morning woke to very dense fog.

We amused ourselves climbing the rig and what-not until finally it lifted and then we started out back to Portland.

Alas, we saw not a shred of wind the entire way, and some crew members got so sick of motoring they had to resort to playing cards on the liferaft to amuse themselves.

POSTSCRIPT: About that mysterious dog on Cliff Island–we did actually see it again, the following morning, on a trawler yacht in the anchorage. I reckon it must have jumped off that cliff and run back to its owner, who was waiting in a dinghy nearby.

LABOR DAY WEEKEND CRUISE: Lasers and Dogs From Outer Space

Sail Feed - Tue, 2014-09-02 17:47

As is traditional, our annual Labor Day excursion got off to a late start. But after we finally dropped Lunacy‘s mooring pennant in Portland harbor on Saturday afternoon, we instantly found ourselves embroiled in the Laser Atlantic Coast Championship Regatta (see photo up top), which was quite exciting. As far as I know we didn’t actually get in anyone’s way.

If you were there racing that day and have a different opinion, please feel free to correct me on that.

Due to lack of time we didn’t get too far after we extracted ourselves from the race fleet. I thought Cliff Island would be a good bet, given the strong southerly wind and our desire to get in a walk before sunset, so we pulled in there and dropped anchor on the west side of the bay on the island’s north side, away from the overly crowded mooring field on the east side.

Now is as good a time as any for me to offer a small amendment to my first very informative post on this destination: i.e., it can get a tad rolly in here when there’s a strong swell running in from the southeast, as there was throughout our weekend, thanks to the doings, I believe, of Hurricane Cristobal, which had just passed by many many miles offshore in that direction.

Cristobal in action the day before we headed out

Before we went ashore Lucy insisted on being hauled up the mast in the bosun’s chair, but didn’t want to go too far, due to the rolling motion of the boat. Which at least was one advantage to having anchored here.

On shore our walk was immediately interrupted by yet another climb, this one up a tree, which was not rolling.

We ended up hiking the entire length of the island’s eastern spur. We first walked down to the south point, which has a great view of neighboring Jewell Island. Then Lucy suddenly suffered an energy deficit and refused to walk anywhere but back to the dinghy, so Clare sat with her for a bit while I walked up to the north point on my own.

This was a fantastic trail, leading right along the edge of a low cliff facing east, and I was about halfway along it when suddenly a dog appeared. A highly energetic one, a German shorthair retriever, wearing a yellow lifejacket and a weird electronic device on its collar. It ran in circles around for me a moment, then shot off up the trail in the direction it had come from. I followed after it, thinking I would soon meet it and its owner at the end of the trail on the north point. But when I got there, where the trail dead-ended in a lovely grassy spot bordered by cliffs on all sides, there was no sign of the dog.

When I walked back to where Clare and Lucy were and reported I had met a strange dog from outer space that had disappeared into thin air and maybe they could help me find it again, Lucy suddenly became re-energized and was very willing to walk the trail. We didn’t find the dog, but I did snap a nice photo of Clare and Lucy standing on the north point facing west with the anchorage in the background. (See above, and please note the depth of field is skewed a bit. Those rocks to the right of the grass are actually at the foot of a 12-foot cliff.)

The next day, after another walk ashore, we sailed from Cliff Island up to the head of Quahog Bay, to the anchorage around Snow Island, where we planned to hook up with our friends David and Catherine, a pair of novice sailors who were out on their very first cruise together. They got there first and let us know by cellphone that they’d picked up a mooring with another empty mooring right behind it.

Our route from Cliff Island up to Snow Island. The wind was south-southwest, blowing between 20 and 5 knots, depending on our position and the apparent wind angle. We sailed the whole way and did the long DDW bit wing-and-wing without a pole

David and Catherine aboard their new (to them) Ericson

So we picked up that empty mooring, hopped in our dinghy, buzzed over to say a quick hey to David and Catherine, then dinghied all the way across the very large anchorage and up Orrs Cove to Great Island Boat Yard, where we hoped to visit the fabulous Wheelhouse Cafe so as to feed certain crew members who had been too seasick to eat lunch on the boat.

We were mortified to discover the cafe had gone out of business. But the boatyard, in spite of my warning that we weren’t on one of their moorings and that they were making exactly zero dollars off us, loaned us their enormous pickup truck so we could drive down the road to another spot. We were almost there when suddenly my cellphone rang. It was David, who had called to say the owner of the mooring we picked up had just appeared and wanted his mooring back.

Gack!

Long story short: we aborted the cafe run, returned the truck, dinghied all the way back to Lunacy, only to learn the rightful owners of the mooring were Will and Halcyon on Squombus, a Regina 38, who I had met 10 years earlier at the Newport boat show, right after they bought their boat and were representing Regina Yachts in North America.

Will on Squombus the following morning. Regina Yachts now is also out of business, but Squombus is for sale, in case you’re interested

This is about the best outcome you can hope for in a situation like this, and I had a very nice time catching up with the Squombites after I moved Lunacy to yet another empty mooring. We also had a fine meal aboard with David and Catherine that evening, but next morning woke to very dense fog.

We amused ourselves climbing the rig and what-not until finally it lifted and then we started out back to Portland.

Alas, we saw not a shred of wind the entire way, and some crew members got so sick of motoring they had to resort to playing cards on the liferaft to amuse themselves.

POSTSCRIPT: About that mysterious dog on Cliff Island–we did actually see it again, the following morning, on a trawler yacht in the anchorage. I reckon it must have jumped off that cliff and run back to its owner, who was waiting in a dinghy nearby.

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