Tuesday, March 31, 2015


Webb Chiles, aboard his Moore 24 GANNET, is on the move.  You can follow his yellow brick track here.  From Webb's photos in appears that the Bay of Islands is an incredibly beautiful place.  If I went there I'm not sure I would ever go back home.

I just have a one day weekend this weekend, with a forecast of wind and rain.  The only sailing I will enjoy will be Webb's.

Monday, March 30, 2015

additions to the boat, stormy, calm

I've added a handful of images to "some photographs" to 
the right, which are the most commonly visited entries.  Here 
are the new photographs, all shot in the last year or two.

La Trappe Creek

La Trappe Creek

Pamlico Sound

Cedar Island Strait

Broad Creek

Pasquotank River


Sunday, March 29, 2015

there's more

Rik asked about more videos of the Paul's Pathfinder Araluen.
There are more, plus some Navigator videos too on this page

I had hoped to sail today.  It is crystal clear with a very
nice breeze.  But it is also 29 degrees.  I won't be sailing.
What happened to spring?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

old gaffers regatta

March teases with warm weather, but only teases.  Chilly and windy today.  Clear and chilly tomorrow and I may put on a few layers for an afternoon sail.  For warmer sailing look to this video from Paul showing his very well built Pathfinder Araleun in a wooden boat regatta.  Below is his report.  Thank you for sharing, Paul.


I entered Araluen in one of the wooden boat regattas held by the South of Perth Yacht Club last weekend. The wind was a steady 20 to 25 knots and gusting to 30 knots.
Lucky for me I had a great forward hand in Peter Kovesi who expertly handled the main and jib while I steered and shot video.
It was outrageous fun and the boat was as solid as a rock. At no time did I feel as though we were in any trouble.
We had time before the start of the race to test out the breeze and after we sailed across to Royal Perth Yacht Club thought a reef would serve us well.
Unfortunately we were the only boat in our class to turn up so we started with the fleet of H28 and then sailed our own course.

It was an easy First and Fastest placing but seeing as we did complete the course we felt very comfortable accepting the two bottles of Grange.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

damn you Mike Wick

I received an email from friend Mike Wick, a friend who takes part in the annual spring float on the Chesapeake every year (above).  It was a casual invitation to join him and a few friends for a few days of sailing around Belhaven and the Pamlico River next week.  I can't make it, but thanked him for the offer.   His reply included "we would like to go to Ocracoke."  

I do have plans to sail in North Carolina, but not until early May.  I've talked to Shawn at Pate Boatyard in Hobucken and he told me I'm always welcome to use his ramp.  I had just planned a few days, maybe three or four, doing an easy walkabout on Jones Bay, the Bay River, maybe cross the Pamlico River to the Pungo River and Belhaven.  I'm still rehabbing the hip and this would have been some easy going on the water therapy.

But Mike has to go and mention Ocracoke.  And it turns out I've got a few more days off than expected (why?  don't know but I'm not going to ask.)  So maybe a sail from Shawn's place to Ocracoke in early May, just as the island gets cranked up for the summer season and before the crowds arrive.  A burger at Dajio, and afternoon sitting on the porch at Rob Templeton's place drinking iced tea? A night (or two) anchored on Silver Lake?  Probably not what the doctor ordered, but doesn't it sound nice??  I can't think of much else these days.  Mike, how can you do that to me?   

I hope you and your friends have a great trip.  And thanks for the idea.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015


 "The ranch was large, and it took four or five hours on foot to get to that place, since my father didn’t like to ride on horseback. We’d get there and sit, mainly at the end of October or the beginning of November, the beginning of the rainy season, when the clouds would arrive, loaded and heavy, and the light would be remarkable."

...from a wonderful interview with SebastiĆ£o Salgado in the New York Times.  Photograph by SebastiĆ£o Salgado.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

ode to joy: unheard, sailed

As I was finishing my sailing yesterday Webb was beginning his sail on the other side of the world.  And elsewhere around the world Rik, Tom, Shelton and Ken were sailing too.  You can read about it on Webb's journal.

ps - I've reloaded the video below through youtube, and it now appears much better full screen.  Still not exciting, just quiet and peaceful.

all is right with the world

It was an easy mid-morning drive south on Hwy 17 between the farm fields to the east and the Great Dismal Swamp to the west.  A rafter of turkeys, maybe 20 or so, two with their feathers fully spread, walked across an open field.  Birds of prey perched on fence poles.  The old canal peaking through breaks in the trees.

At the boat ramp in Elizabeth City I took my time rigging Spartina.  It was a cool morning and just beginning to warm.  No need to rush because it was the first launch of the year; because it was the first rigging since reinstalling the deck hardware; because it was the first time raising the masts with my new hip; and because it was such a fine day.  A nice young couple came over to look at the boat, the man asking about the rig.  After they walked away I regretted not inviting them to join me for at least a part of the sail sail.

Out on the water the wind was steady but light, perfect for the first sail of the year.  I tacked across the river to the marina then back to hospital point.  I called my friend Millie to plan our dinner date for the evening.  She stepped out of her apartment in what was the old hospital and waved across the water.  I sailed northwest to a wide bay lined by bare trees tinted red by their buds.  Then a fine sail in stronger winds to Cobb Point, tacking while I learned how to move around the boat with the new hip.  The hardware, both my hips and Spartina's worked fine, the new winch handle feeling solid, though I look forward to the brass ring earning a salty patina.

Early afternoon the wind died downriver.  Back towards the waterfront I could see the sails of a green hulled sloop working in the breeze.  It would be my friend Mike in his Flicka, out for the first time this year, out for the first time with a new set of sails.  Motoring in his direction I found the wind again and the two of us spent the rest of the afternoon sharing tacks on the glassy water.  As Mike would tell me later that night in an email, "all is right with the world."

Rigging Spartina with the new hip went well, but sitting while sailing took some adjustment.  I felt slight aches as I moved around the cockpit, loosening up muscles that had had the winter off.  Bringing down Spartina's rig probably stressed the hip more than anything, and I could feel it as I sat in Sidney's Cafe and Bistro for a pleasant dinner with Millie.  But no worries, just the after-effects of a therapy session on Spartina.  

It was a wonderful day on the water, the conclusion of a long winter and the beginning of the time when I start looking at the ten day forecast to see when we can head out for the next sail.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

longing no more

A day of light breezes and absolute joy on the Pasquotank River.
More about it tomorrow.  Below is a video.  Not exciting, just
peaceful and quiet and relaxing.  (I've reloaded the 
video and it should be better quality now.) 

Friday, March 20, 2015

please join us

An email from Webb Chiles this morning tells me that we both will be sailing for this first time this year this weekend, Webb in the New Zealand's Bay of Islands and myself on the Pasquotank River in North Carolina.  Winter has been a time of recovery for us both.  Webb has been rehabbing an injured shoulder,  I have been recovering from hip replacement surgery.  I suspect there will be twinges of pain for us as we raise sail, using muscles in ways they have not been used in months.  And there will be the discomfort of fitting bodies still healing in the confines of small boats.  But most importantly, there will be joy.  

On Webb's journal he has invited the world to join us this weekend (which could possibly mean an awful lot of people on two small boats).  I've copied part of his invitation below.  

        I invite you wherever you are to join us doing whatever you love to do this weekend.  If you have a boat on water which can be sailed,  sail.
        If you are a runner, run.  A walker, walk.  A lover, love.  A musician, play.  A lover of music, listen.  A reader, read.  A tennis player, play.  A horseman or woman, ride.  A cook, cook.  A star gazer, gaze.  A gardener, garden.  A dreamer, dream.
        Whatever brings you joy enjoy it.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

99 days

It was 99 days ago that I pulled all of the gear - a surprisingly lot of gear - out of Spartina.  Masts, sails, fire extinguisher, flares, flashlight, dock lines, sun block, vhf radio, knives (filet and pocket), flotation vests......the list went on and on.  That's 99 days that included surgery, rehab, sanding, painting and epoxy work.  Spartina is about as done as she'll get.  I wish I could say that she looks like new, but really I've just traded one set of brush strokes for another.

Today I put all that gear back.  I can't tell you how good it felt.  And the Honda outboard started on the sixth pull.  Yes, life is good.  

And there's even a decent forecast this weekend.

Monday, March 16, 2015


deck plates, winch handle

under wraps

Cooler than I would like so far today, so after some touch up painting I'm employing the green house effect to bake the paint.  It should warm up to the sixties by this afternoon and it should get very hot underneath the plastic.

I'm not going to try to fool anybody, the painting is done to a workboat finish.  I am a master of the workboat technique.

Forecast for tomorrow calls for high 70's.  I have an unexpected three day weekend and should get the hardware put in place and maybe even load the day sailing gear.  Wouldn't that be nice?

Sunday, March 15, 2015

a spring coat

I would rather see her on the water

Over 60 degrees right now with clear dry air and perfect for painting.  On a day that has daffodils blooming Spartina emerged from the garage for the first time since mid-December.  I've done a quick touch up with steel grey paint of the areas that were sanded down to the white primer or coated with new epoxy.  Next I'll roll on a full coat.  With the warm sun and breeze that might be in just an hour or two.  I had set tomorrow aside for painting, but if I get most of it done today I will use tomorrow to start installing deck plates and hardware.  I love see Spartina out in the sun, but I would rather see her on the water.

Friday, March 13, 2015

this morning's physical therapy

This morning's pt was done in Spartina's cockpit, an excellent workout as I try to find the new choreography in the boat with my new hip.   

Small boat's require crouching, kneeling, bending over, reaching up and under the side and foredecks from compact positions.

Artificial hips have some limitations on movement.  It is possible to dislocate a new hip, something the doctor suggests I avoid.

So I took it, as my physical therapist said, slow and in control.  It became clear that I can make it work.  I was able to access everything and accommodate the new hip at the same time.  It is a relief for me to know that. 

Oh, and while doing my pt, I sanded down some patches of new epoxy and used a damp rag to clean the cockpit for painting.  Sunday and Monday, with clear skies and temperatures in the 60s, should be perfect.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

a brief report from a brief trip

Here's a brief report from Paul about Dawn Patrol's experience in the abbreviated Everglades Challenge.  The full report, well worth reading, can be found on Alan's blog.  I really like the GoPro photo of Dawn Patrol being launched from the beach, above.

Alan and I were well rested at the start.  The conditions were just about perfect.  We ran the boat onto rollers and into the water in a few seconds  --our fastest launch ever.  We were in the lead leaving the beach and we had a beautiful downwind run out to the Gulf with a moving average of 7 knots.  The sun came out.  Stump Pass was sunny and flat.  We beat all our previous times into CP1.  We arrived only about 50 minutes behind the EC 22.  The new improvements to the boat were a big success.  Love the new CB.    

All was.....  Perfect!

And then our bubble was popped.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

he loved the smell of epoxy in the morning

It was warm and humid on my morning walk, which I very much enjoyed.  No coat for the first time this year and I was overdressed in sweat pants and a long-sleeved tee shirt.  Spring, welcome back.

As soon as I was done with the walk I broke out the epoxy kit to put mahogany backing "plates" on some of Spartina's frames.  I have long used bungees to hold gear under the side decks and behind the coaming between frames five and six, a perfect place to tuck away foul weather gear, hats, sandals or bottles of water.  With 20 feet of bungee cord bought at West Marine yesterday I will replace the old bungee and extend it so that it goes between frames five, six and seven.  The pieces of mahogany will be backing plates for the small line cleats that hold the bungee in place.

A note on prices.  The epoxy I used is from the last kit I bought while building Spartina, bought for $200+.  I call it a five gallon kit, it is really 4.35 gallons of resin plus a can of hardener.  That kit now sells for over $350.  The okume plywood I purchased for $55 a sheet is now about $90 a sheet.  I'm glad I built Spartina when I did.

Spartina is a mess right now.  That should change this weekend when I will clean out the boat and ready for painting.  Then the deck plates go it, followed by the day sailing gear.  Followed, in a week or two, by sailing.

The morning walk was good for my new hip, the gymnastics of sanding and doing epoxy work under the side decks and behind the coamings was even better.

Monday, March 9, 2015

listen to the jib

A very nice video from Rik on board his Pathfinder
Vanessa, out for a day sail with a couple of passengers
 aboard.  Listen to that wind on the jib.  It has been 
too long since I have heard that sound.
You can find his post here.

Sunday, March 8, 2015

spring shadows

Typically by this time....

spring has already sprung

Dawn Patrol is past CP 2 and on their way to CP 3

Kristen and Dawn have passed CP 1, paddling long days and sleeping very short nights

I'm checking air pressure in the trailer tires, hoping for that first warm day


Alan, Dawn, Paul and Kristen are regrouping after being spread out along the Florida coast

I'm wondering how I will transition to spring without five or six days of following the Everglades Challenge

there are piles of dirty snow blocking the boat ramp, and even if there was no snow there are two huge pieces of concrete blocking the ramp


I find myself in the front yard, painting some old book cases, looking up at the blue sky and feeling the heat of the sun and the warm wind out of the south, thinking if not for my rehab and repainting Spartina's cockpit, I should be on the water right now.

beggars banquet

Alan sent this photograph for the Ultra Marathon awards ceremony, held at checkpoint 1 for the abbreviated race.  Dawn Patrol arrived there yesterday afternoon, Kiwibird came in I think around 10:00 last night.  As of this morning Dawn was at the southern end of Longboat Key.  No doubt that everyone involved would have preferred the awards ceremony be held Saturday in Key Largo, but that was not meant to be.

I've received questions about why the event was cancelled.  That will be a topic of discussion amongst the ec crowd for a while to come.  In simple terms, it was because of safety concerns of the Coast Guard.  Nine rescues in just a few hours does raise questions of safety.  It will be interesting to see how the race will accommodate those concerns next year.

Here is a nice video on Sailing Anarchy from the start of the race, which I just learned about from Webb Chiles, who follows the site.  And below are some observations made on SA.

We hate to come down on the law and order side of things, but despite some of the watertribers’ insistence that it’s still a mom-and-pop regatta for the fringe, it’s time to get real.  There’s no longer any complaint about resources; with entry fees at around $400 per person and more than 200 competitors, the money is there – and the Coast Guard makes getting an MEP a fairly smooth, if somewhat time-consuming process.  And getting the permit requires organizers to really think through the possibilities, ensuring that there’s a safety and comms plan in place for the good of the fleet.

I am not a participant in the event.  I do not know enough to agree or disagree with SA, but these thoughts will be part of the conversation as the watertribe prepares for future events.

Saturday, March 7, 2015

rough day for everybody

pizza party

SOS called to say Dawn Patrol has arrived at CP1, Cape Haze Marina, and a pizza party has broken out.  There is a lot of uncertainty about the status of the race.  Is it over?  Will there be a restart?  Can you head to Key Largo on your own?  Sounds like a nice time for a slice of pizza with pepperoni and extra cheese.