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.

Monday, January 6, 2020

ten years later

This afternoon I came across one of my photographs of the amphibious assault ship BATAAN in the Washington Post.  It ran with a story about the current crisis in the Mideast.  A few minutes later I heard from a friend, the young lady with the machine gun below, reminding me it was 10 years ago this month that the two of us got on the BATAAN at Naval Station Norfolk and headed south for Haiti on an earthquake relief mission.


During the trip I remember the commanding officer talking about the capabilities of an amphibious assault ship - they can carry thousands of marines; launch hovercraft and landing craft from the well deck; launch helicopters and certain types of fixed wing aircraft from the flight deck.  "We can bring help just as well as we can bring harm," he said.  I am glad we were there when they were bringing help.













Monday, December 30, 2019

sea of green


SPARTINA, surrounded by duckweed at the dock in Elizabeth City Sunday morning.

Friday, December 27, 2019

fog


A quick trip to the Eastern Shore today.  Worth the drive to Cape Charles just to see the fog.





Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Christmas day repairs


A great Christmas day here.  Out for a walk just after dawn with the oldest daughter.  Then the gift exchange.


And then, with an extra set of hands in the house, a little sail repair time with the youngest daughter.  With the jib back in shape, hope to get out this weekend.  Merry Christmas.


Saturday, December 21, 2019

the best, the worst, the most memorable of 2019


Best Description of SPARTINA:  "A smile on the water," said by his wife and relayed to me by Rick Lapp as they passed by SPARTINA on their Blue Jacket 28 CAILIN FIONN near Rolph's Wharf on the Chester River.


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Least Favorite Description of Me: "You ignorant bastard!," delivered by a ramp ranger after I told him I didn't appreciate him yelling at me, distracting me and confusing me as I was launching SPARTINA with contrary wind and tide in Elizabeth City.  But yeah, I do admit that there are times when I would agree with him.


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Most Unexpected Neighbor:  Finding Curt anchored near me on just off the Chester River.  I knew he was somewhere on the river but did not expect to see him for another day or so.


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Favorite New Piece of Gear:  The mango suit, a Stohlquist Amp drysuit I now wear while sailing from late fall until early spring.  It has gotten me out on the water safely for some great sails when in past times SPARTINA would have been sitting in the garage.


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Worst Decision Made When Thinking with my Stomach:  Hardening up in a gust, hoping to get into Little Washington, NC in time for dinner at Ribeye's Steakhouse.  Instead of enjoying a steak and  the all-you-can-eat salad bar (with smoked oysters!), I rounded up, returned to Blounts Bay and spent the evening drying out gear.



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Quietest Moment in a Storm:  In the eye of Dorian as the storm passed over Buxton on Hatteras Island.  Quiet, calm and a hint of blue skies.  And then the back side of the storm arrived...



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Favorite Bow Wave:  The sun catching water spraying off the bow on Poplar Island Narrows on the second day of the fall sail, the start of eight hours sailing into the wind on the narrows and then Chesapeake Bay.


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Strangest Sight at 5 a.m. on the Virginia Beach oceanfront:  Man riding a bike down Atlantic Ave before dawn on the first day of a three-day music festival.  I got the feeling he would have been out there riding his bike even in there wasn't a music festival.


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Favorite New Seafood:  Limpets, roasted in butter and drizzled with lemon juice, served with crusty slices of bread to soak up the juices in the pan, a traditional appetizer from the Azores.



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Coldest Morning at the Ramp:  32° on an early February morning.


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Most Enjoyable Cocktail Hour While Watching a Storm:  On the M/V PEGGY SUE with Norm and Betsy.  I had moved SPARTINA from the main dock to a smaller spot, making room for their Monk 36.  To me it was a simple and practical courtesy, to them it seemed much more.  We had a great time as we realized we had several friends in common while enjoying cold beers and a sip of scotch as a storm passed just south of Oriental.



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Cutest Magazine Cover Girl:  Baby, on the March/April 2019 cover of Small Craft Advisor.  Tom had put her on lookout for pirates (power boats) and mermaids (you figure it out).


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Favorite Cetaceans at Sunrise:  Two dolphin that hung off a little point as I headed back to Goose Creek and the Pamlico River after a peaceful night on a creek.



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Best Imitation of a Painting:  Checking on SPARTINA on the way to the office, the morning light cast perfect reflections on the water.



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Saddest Sight of a Favorite Place:  Ocracoke Island, visiting a week after Hurricane Dorion sent floodwaters raging through the village streets.  Worst storm since the 1940s, and they are still trying to recover.



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Best Evening tied up with Classic Boats:  With a strong east wind blowing they let me tie up in a perfect little spot surrounded by a few of the classic boats at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum's floating fleet.  Tent set up and sleeping gear set out, I was about to walk into town for a solo dinner.  Longtime friend and museum president Kristen showed up to check on me and SPARTINA, she said she would be back in 20 minutes to take me out for dinner.  How nice.



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Best Photograph of a Circumnavigator:  Webb on GANNETT as he sailed 7,000 miles early this year to wrap up his sixth circumnavigation.


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Most Enjoyable Daysail While on a Cruise:  Battered by wind and waves on the Pamlico River I turned into Goose Island Creek for a break, spent the rest of the day "daysailing" on Snode Creek.  Absolutely wonderful, that kind of sailing is what it is all about.



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Most Vertical Climbing:  Up and down the mist covered tops of old volcanoes with the Pilgrim on Sao Migues in the Azores.



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Kindest Bridge Tender:  The guy working the Kent Narrows Bridge.  I was a few minutes behind for the 9 a.m. lift and was expecting to have to wait 30 minutes for the next lift.  "Keep coming" he says over the vhf, sneaking me through with a friendly wave.


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Best Named Creek for Hiding from a Storm:  Gale Creek, where I tucked in on the spring cruise.  Two storms cells came over while I read, napped and had a relaxing dinner.  I later heard stories of violent winds and golf ball-sized hail.



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Best Moonset before Dawn:  The last morning of the spring cruise on Durham Creek.




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Most Unexpected Appearance in a Netflix Documentary:  Me, running briefly across the screen in the Netflix documentary The Confession Killer, circa 1987.  At the time I had just finished building the first SPARTINA, a Sam Devlin Nancy's China, and was training for my first open boat cruise on the Texas coast.



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Strangest Sound:  The hollow popping noise as flat-faced waves slammed into the side of SPARTINA as we crossed from Hail Point to Queenstown Creek.




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Best Crab Cake:  Snappers Waterfront Cafe in Cambridge, Md.  Crab meat picked right next door, it doesn't get any fresher.  Good enough reason to have Cambridge as part of the sail plan for any trip on the Eastern Shore.



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Favorite Thing to Think About During Cold Winter Nights: Next year's sailing.