Saturday, February 15, 2020

the gift

A gift from the Pilgrim,
to help me find my way in the new life.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

the interview, spring supplies

The Small Craft Advisor interview with Webb Chiles is out in their March/April issue.  If you have a subscription, enjoy the piece.  If you don't have a subscription, go to your bookstore and buy a copy or, better yet, order a subscription.  In print there is no better supporter of small boats that SCA.

The interview is an enjoyable read.  Many of Webb's thoughts and comments I have read elsewhere in the past, here they are all put together and nicely packaged.

I was pleased to see that Webb, asked about small boats that he likes, mentions John Welsford's Pathfinder.  We are in agreement on that (yet questions linger as to whether or not it is really a Drascombe).


Whenever I am near a Bass Pro Shop or an REI I drop in to pick up a freeze dried meal or two, above.  When I am at certain grocery stores I buy two or three Rx Bars.  Buying a little here and a little there adds up.  Doing a count this morning have have nearly enough breakfast bars and dinner for what could possibly be a month-long sail.  

Dinners are a mixture of Mountain House Meals (though the ones available locally are servings for two, too much for me), Good To-Go meals, Alpinaire and OMeals (self heating meals that I am liking more and more).  There are even a couple of Outdoor Gourmet Meals from New Zealand, courtesy of Webb, in the mix.

I am continually surprised by the variety of flavors available in Rx Bars.  A new favorite, just found a week or so ago, is Peanut Butter and Berries.  It is excellent.  I have not yet had an Rx Bar that I did not like.  

Rainy and cool the next few days.  Not much of a chance to get out on the water.

Monday, February 10, 2020

light and variable

You can tell from the calm water in the photograph above and the reef lines in the one below that there was not much wind yesterday.  This was perfectly ok with me.  It has been a hectic couple of weeks, I just wanted some time on the water to decompress.  The wind came and went on the Pasquotank, shifting directions throughout the cool morning.  It was very pleasant.

After lunch, a sub from the grocery store, I anchored and enjoyed the day.  Eventually I laid down for what I thought would be a brief nap.  I fell in to the the deepest of sleeps, so deep that when I woke I did not know where I was.  I think I needed that deep sleep.

Stuart of Dabbler Sails tells me he is making good progress with the new set of sails.  I believe the main is complete and he is now working on the mizzen and jib.  I've contacted Angel at Little Bay Canvas about new sails covers.  Both Stuart and Angel were in agreement that she should not measure for the new covers - made out of sunbrella - until the new sails are bent on.  The old sails, well worn, would not give accurate measurements.  Not only would the new sails have more bulk simply because they will be new, but they are also a heavier material, 5.38 oz for the new versus 4.77 oz for the old.  

I'm in no rush to get the new sails, the current set works just fine.  And I am glad to work with people like Stuart and Angel who want to get the job done right.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

better than working for a living

Just above and slightly to the right of center in the photo above, white shirt, dark tie.  That's me.  I am a newspaper photographer.  Have been for nearly four decades.  And I will be for about 24 more hours.

I received this email yesterday.  VSIP stands for Voluntary Separation Incentive Program.  All I can say is "thank you."  I am grateful for 40 years of doing something that is better than working for a living.  

I get to hang around and take pictures.  What is not to like?  From kayaks to aircraft carriers, fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, blimbs, amphibious landing craft, hover craft, submarines, tug boats, trains, laboratories, upscale kitchens, dimly lit alleys, operating rooms, court rooms, farms, islands, deserts, swamps, stadiums and state houses - those places have all been my corporate-designated workspace for well-over half my life.  Hurricanes and nor'easters, tornados, floods, fires, earthquakes, snow storms and ice storms - times that people should take shelter are the very times I go to work.

I almost always deal with absolute strangers, usually spending a routine day with them.  Or maybe it is the best day of their lives.  At times it can be the worst day of their lives.  Boundless joy, unbearable pain, incredible courage, I have witnessed it all.  It is an honor to be the one to tell their stories.

While doing my job I have been yelled at, cursed, physically attacked, threatened with arrest and charged with contempt.

While doing my job I have been thanked, sometimes with a handshake or a hug, a phone call or email.  And, on occasion, I have been thanked with a gentle kiss on the cheek.

I am honest enough with myself to know that I am a good photographer, not a great photographer.  There are better photographers out there, some of them are my friends and colleagues.  But I will tell you that nobody - nobody - enjoyed their job more than I did.  Like I said, it is (was) better than working for a living. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

bend tests and other measurements

That is 16 pounds of led tied to a line and hanging from SPARTINA's mizzen mast.  Stuart of Dabbler Sails is making a new set of sails for me.  He tells me the mainsail is complete and is now working on the mizzen and jib.  A bend test, which measures the amount of bend at three points on the mast, combined with his experience, will help him design the sail to match the boat.  

Stuart also needed a couple of measurements for the jib, both the size of the hanks on the current sail and the size of the forestay.  From measurements and memory I believe the forestay is 1/8" 1x19 stainless steel.

Stuart also suggested I look into sail covers to put on the sails when the boat is docked.  Currently my sail covers are on the sails only after the rig is broken down and stowed.  I have been spending more time on the water, more days and weeks where I leave SPARTINA on the water for evening and early morning sails.  Covering up those sails will protect them from the sun.  I've got an email off to my friend Angel at Little Bay Canvas - she and her crew made my boom tent - to see what she can do for me.

Can't wait to see the new sails.

Monday, January 27, 2020


A wonderful day on the water.  Used the GoPro just to make sure I've got the apps on the new computer and iPad set up correctly.  

Chilly early in the day with light wind.  Breezier and warmer by mid-day.  I really enjoy winter sailing on the Pasquotank River.

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Thursday, January 23, 2020

spring, the long sail

I am told I may have more free time this coming year.  That could mean some longer sailing trips.

For spring I had been planning a ten day trip on Tangier Sound.  With the extra time I'm now looking at something like a month-long trip in North Carolina.  I've roughed out a possible trip, above.  Putting in at Potter's Marine I would head north on the Pungo River, take the canal up to the Alligator River, sail west on Albemarle Sound toward Edenton.  Then back east down the sound to Roanoke Island, south on Pamlico Sound, Ocracoke, the Neuse River and New Bern.  Back down the Neuse to Adams Creek Canal, Beaufort, Cape Lookout, Core Sound.  From there north to the Pamlico River up to Little Washington and then back to Potter's Marine.

It's just a thought right now.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Webb Chiles: the interview

Just came across this in an email.  Note the first topic:  "Webb Chiles Interview."  I look forward to reading this.   

Saturday, January 11, 2020

trailer month

Unseasonably and incredibly warm these days, but the weather is not good for sailing.  Rainy and gusts up into the 30s, SPARTINA will not be out on the water this weekend.

February has become the annual trailer month for me.  I've placed an order with Loadrite for hangers, leaf springs and bushings.  The hangers on my trailer are corroded.  When the new ones arrive I will coat them a few times with liquid galvanizing.  

The leaf springs are also "sprung".  While the trailer is rated for 1000 lbs, I noticed that the o.e.m. leaf springs - with two leafs and 22" long - were rated for 600 lbs.  I will replace with 22" leaf springs with three leafs, rated at 1000 lbs.

The leaf springs hang from the frame by four hangers, above (which is inverted in the catalog image), and the leaf springs sit on top of the axle.  Should be a simple enough project that could be completed in a few hours.

I'll also drop the hubs off with the nice ladies at Portsmouth trailer and have the bearings repacked.  Then I should be ready to go.

Hoping for better weather next weekend.