Saturday, March 17, 2018

winter sailing

A crisp 37 degrees when I got to the ramp this morning.  No trouble finding a parking spot.  (Wonder why???)  Had SPARTINA rigged and motoring up the southern branch of the Elizabeth River just after 9:00 with a nice SW breeze.

Still experimenting with the set of the main.  Slacked the outhaul at Stuart's suggestion to put more belly in the mail.  You can see the curve of the sail above.  Gone are the creases that used to run along the foot of the sail.  I felt like there was improved performance.  I had to adjust the lazy jacks so they didn't pinch in along the foot and that seemed to work out well.  There are still some wrinkles at the top of the sail but after I came in I adjusted the lines that tie the sail to the gaff and think that will smooth things out.

Went from clear skies to a few clouds then to very cloudy.  Temperature peaked at a balmy 51 just as I came into the dock in the afternoon.  Left SPARTINA on the river for another sail tomorrow.   Sitting here at the kitchen window I look outside and see bright sunshine.  Wish I had stayed out a bit longer.

Friday, March 16, 2018

simpler times

I rec'd this photograph from a friend the other day.  It was taken almost exactly five years ago while waiting for a few hours in a room on a military base to photograph the president.  Five years ago, so not the current office holder.  

I showed the picture to the daughters, one replying "simpler times."

Sunday, March 11, 2018


I dropped by Dick's Sporting Goods this morning for one of their annual sales.  I went early to beat the crowd and was rewarded with a $10 gift card for being one of the first hundred shoppers.  My lure of choice, a deep-diving floating YoZuri, was on sale, two for the price of one.  A couple lures worth $30 and I was out the door for less than $5, what a great deal.  They'll be perfect for stripers this fall.

Our long, cold, wet and windy winter continues.  I have had to content myself with checking gear and packing food for the spring trip, still two months away.  Canned Italian tuna, fruit cups, granola and dried fruits are in the bags so far.  Now I just need a little sunshine and warmth. 

Saturday, March 10, 2018

report from FIRST LIGHT

Tom put together a very nice account of his Everglades Challenge sail in his John Welsford Pathfinder FIRST LIGHT.  He talks about the boat, sailing technique, decision making and gear.  Just great stuff.  You can find the pdf here.

Friday, March 9, 2018

Dawn sets a record

A short video and an EC report from Paul

With only a two-hour delay due to a small-craft advisory, the 2018 Everglades Challenges started with 107 boats and featured a full moon for night-time sailing and near-perfect weather at the start on Saturday and Sunday allowing us (Alan and Paul) to improve and finish in a little less than 48 hours. This was the 6th EC for the "Dawn Patrol" crewed by Alan and Paul. Alan and Dawn equally have completed a boatload of ECs and NC Challenges. This year, Dawn (a.k.a. SandyBottom) in her Kruger Dream Catcher also improved her best time to 5 days, 5 hours, 32 minutes and is now very happy to hold the record time for "Class 1 kayak solo female". This was her 14th Everglades Challenge. 

Thursday, March 8, 2018

SandyBottom, Dances with SandyBottom and SOS, corrected

Paul, aka Dances with SandyBottom, was kind enough to send photographs of his wife Dawn, aka SandyBottom, finishing her Everglades Challenge.

Above is son Alan, aka SOS, watching SandyBottom come in, above, and enjoying a cold one with her, below.  

I do not know for a fact but I suspect - and if I'm wrong please somebody let me know - that the Stewart family, between Paul, Dawn and Alan, has competed in more Watertribe events than just about any other family.

From the Everglades Challenge to the Ultimate Florida Challenge to North Carolina Challenge, they have been competitors in kayaks, Core Sound boats and even self-designed/self-built boats.  They have been a constant presence at the events and it has been my pleasure to follow them on the races over the years.  

A correction from Paul on the earlier post about Dawn Patrol....

"Actually, the boat on the left with red sailcovers is an EC22 "Scorpa" owned by good friends Joe and Sally Anderson who are cruising Florida Bay this week. Our B&B Core Sound 20 (Mark 1) "Dawn Patrol" is on the right but now with hull painted blue to confuse you. Over the past year we have refitted and repainted her and given her new sails. Here [ ] is a tour of the "Dawn Patrol" by Alan (a.k.a., SOS). "

Missing from the photographs is, of course, Paul.  He is simply to modest to include himself.  (But if anybody does have a photograph of Dances with SandyBottom please send it to me, I would love to post it.).  

Paul, Dawn and Alan are very adventurous people and very good folks.  I have learned a lot from them over the years and I am very glad to have them as my friends.  Congratulations on a great race.

crossing Florida Bay

Nice video from Tom here from crossing Florida Bay.  Love that clean, organized cockpit.  Love the company he had for at least part of the sail, below.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018


Tom reached the finish line in his Pathfinder FIRST LIGHT in four days, five hours and five minutes. I'll look forward to hearing more about the trip, but this is what he sent this evening.

"Finished the race today, now I’m sitting on the couch, and there is no tiller or sheet to tend to, feels weird." 

after arriving at flamingo

the sunrise lighting up my main leaving flamingo

a good night's rest, updated

I have not heard from Tom in a while but with FIRST LIGHT tide to a dock in Flamingo since yesterday evening it appears he got a good night's rest.  He should have a southwest wind today, perfect to carry him across the shallows of Florida Bay.  

Dawn is paddling through the Wilderness Waterway.  Paul and Alan have been at the finish line, the third boat to come in at just under two days and two hours.  It looks like it has been a good race.

Update:  An email from Dave tells me that Dawn is going "outside" the Wilderness Waterway, and he also points out she is on pace for one of her fastest ECs.  Excellent!