Wednesday, April 26, 2017

a sure sign of spring

The Harvey Gamage is on the waterfront where we've seen her the last couple of springs.  She is on her way north from her southern home port of Cienfuegos, Cuba to her northern home port of Portland, Maine.  Hope she sticks around for the weekend, tall ships always look better when seen from the water.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

maybe stronger fishing line, less swimming // corrected

Friend JimB from the Outer Banks tells me I have misidentified one of the sharks in the post.  In fact there is one Great White, George, 9' 10" long, weighing in at 702 pounds, in Pamlico Sound.  He was last noted about halfway between Bluff Point and the southern end of Hatteras Island (the orange mark).  The second tracked shark is Lexi, a female Tiger Shark (the blue dot), just under 9' long and coming in at a svelte 263 pounds.  Lexi was last seen just inside of Frisco towards the southern end of Hatteras.  Thanks for the correction, Jim.


OCEARCH reports one Great White, marked by the orange dot,
and one Tiger Shark, marked by the blue dot, are in
Pamlico Sound.I'll keep that in mind on the spring sail.

Did I just hear somebody say
"You're gonna need a bigger boat"?

still at work

I smiled when I saw that old plane, one that had in the family for three generations, at Tidewater Wooden Boat Workshop yesterday afternoon.  Dad and I had used it to plane down the masts and spars for Spartina about a decade ago.  Having retired from my boatbuilding career I had donated the plane to TWBW, a non-profit group that teaches STEM skills to inner city kids through boatbuilding. 

 On a visit yesterday I had expected to see it on shelves high up on the wall where they keep some tools that are a hundred years or more old, sort of a collection of classics.  Instead the plane was where it belonged, on a workbench with fresh curled ribbons of Atlantic white cedar.  Nice.

Monday, April 24, 2017

all back together again

Every time I start taking things apart, sand, scrape off paint, I wonder if I will get it all back together again.  Fortunately it did go back together, with Spartina looking a little nicer with new white deck paint, touched up hull and brightwork.  All ready to go, just waiting on this weekend's 90+ degree weather.  (What happened to spring???)

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Friday, April 21, 2017

done, here and there



Just touch up and clean up left to do for the spring maintenance.  I painted the deck and sheer strake, sanded and varnished the rub rails, coaming, masts, tiller, boomkin and couple of other small pieces of bright work.  My typical workboat finish, but the wood is well sealed and ready for the spring sail.

I've been rushing to get Spartina ready for sailing this weekend but the weather does not look favorable.  So maybe it is time to start packing food and checking gear.

and there....

Webb is done with his most recent leg, arriving St. Lucia after departing St. Helena about five weeks ago.  Looks like some beautiful sailing.  From his journal....

The day’s runs from St. Helena add up to 3859 miles, the second longest passage GANNET has made.  In the little over two months since we sailed from Durban, the little boat has crossed another ocean and covered 6423 miles.  

Even more pleasing because it wasn’t planned, but serendipitous, is that we have sailed more than half the world from Darwin, Australia to Rodney Bay, St. Lucia with only two stops:  Durban and St. Helena.  Anchored at Darwin, Australia at 130º49’E, we are now at 60º57’W.  That is more than 191º of longitude.  We have also swung from 12ºS latitude to 35ºS, then up to 14ºN.  Daily runs from Darwin to St. Lucia total 12,337 miles, and her miles since leaving San Diego 22,016.  Not bad for a little boat intended to day race around buoys. 

Monday, April 17, 2017

a couple little videos

Longtime friend and co-worker Todd was on the waterfront
Saturday as I sailed by.  Thanks, Todd.

The breeze was light but steady at first, 
then filled in about an hour later.  Below is
from my phone.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


Flying solo tonight so thought I would experiment in the kitchen.  Above is pulpo, or at least my version of Mexican octopus.  Kinda wished I had had a recipe, but octopus in habanero sauce, seared at 500 degrees, with red peppers, jalapeños and mango served over rice.  Not too bad.

Gusty day on the river.  Sailed in the a.m. with mizzen, jib and double reefed main.  Put the rail under water once.  In the p.m. had only mizzen and jib, and even then almost put the rail in the water.  Fun!

The Denmark navy boats seemed to handle the weather pretty good as they headed out for a daysail.

Happy Easter!

Webb is back in the trades and making good speed for St. Lucia.  Maybe two or three days and he'll be in.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

seeing double

A couple very sleek yawls from Denmark's navy
on the waterfront this weekend.

They sailed from Denmark to the US Virgin Islands,
then nine days on the ocean to Norfolk.  From here
they'll visit the US Naval Academy in Annapolis.

Monday, April 10, 2017

picture perfect

It was a picture perfect sail today, as was yesterday.  Sunday had light steady winds building in the afternoon out of the north.  Today was a stronger southwest wind gusting at times to have Spartina heeled over.

Don't take my word for it being picture perfect.  The evidence is here, the photo above from Jeff as he walked along the water on his lunch break.

And Lynn, who joined me in the afternoon for a sail, sent the these two, one from the waterfront, above, and one from her condo.

I've even been told there is video from today, but have not seen it yet.  Nice to have friends on the waterfront.

Friday, April 7, 2017

the plan

Not a major overhaul, but after a decade or so of sailing Spartina can use some touching up....

Next week:  Buy supplies - brushes, rollers, lots of sandpaper, plastic drop cloth to keep the mess out of the inside of the cockpit, breathing mask and goggles.

A week from Monday (full day of work)

  • Sand bright work, i.e. masts, tiller, cb trunk cap, coaming, rub rails
  • Trim and shape aft end of mizzen boom (it has always been an inch or two too long)
  • Remove registration numbers
  • Remove trailer guides
  • Sand sheer plank
  • Epoxy patching where needed on bright work and sheer plank
  • Another coat of primer on patched area at the bottom of the stem

Tuesday through Saturday (half days)

  • Sand and coat of varnish twice each day (at least seven coats)
  • Sand and primer coat on sheer plank
  • Touch up hull where needed with Interlux Sea Green topside paint

Late in the week

  • Paint topsides and sheer plank
  • Sand and touch up hull where needed
End of week
  • Apply new registration numbers
  • Re-install trailer guides
  • Go sailing

Thursday, April 6, 2017


Checking in on GANNET this morning to find she is just over 1700 miles southeast of St. Lucia.

From Ventusky Webb is not quite out of the doldrums as of the last mark but ahead of him looks like nice wind on the beam.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

the doldrums

From Webb's journal....

It should be a passage of three parts:  a trade wind broad reach from here to the doldrums; doldrums; a trade wind beam reach to St. Lucia.  

Monday, March 27, 2017

three and one-half days

Always a fool but with a quirky schedule of three and one-half days off at least I was for a while a sailing fool.  First two and one-half days (the half being a morning on the water Saturday) I sailed the Elizabeth River in Norfolk where I came across a couple of unusual sights.

The first was a dry dock pulled out of position on the southern branch of the Elizabeth, the dock being wide enough to block the entire river.  Spartina, along with another boat, ran in gentle circles for about 15 minutes until a tug began pushing the floating dock back into position at the shipyard and giving us enough room to slip by.

Once past the dry dock we raised sail at just about the time I received an email from sailing friend Steve Baum, who I have mentioned before.  Below is part of his email. 

There is a fellow from Canada that is currently cruising on a live-aboard 13' boat sailboat.  He started his cruise in Franklin on the Black Water River, headed south through the Chowan River, then across the Albermale Sound and now is working his way north, to finish in Bennetts Creek."

(I've enhanced the map from a Facebook
post to show some of the route)

About an hour after reading the email I saw a small boat with a square sail come around the bend onto the main branch of the Elizabeth. 

I sailed alongside the Paradox "Iota" for a while, each of us taking photographs of the other boat and exchanging greetings.  If you want to read more about the interesting almost-circumnavigation of lower Virginia by André-Francois Bourbeau take a look here.  He seemed like a very nice guy and if you read up on him he has done his share of adventuring.  I look forward to talking with, or maybe sailing with him someday.

After a few days on the Elizabeth River I headed down to Elizabeth City to sail the Pasquotank today photo at the very top and just above), a day of blue skies mixed with some clouds and steady wind with a few gusts thrown in.  It was a perfect day, a perfect long weekend.  

I guess now I need to get back to work.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017


The Schooner Virginia's anchors are on the pier next to the tall ship.  Lots of work going on onboard, sanding, varnishing, painting.  The season is not too far away.

I've been watching Webb take a couple of jogs west on his way to the Windward Islands.  As OBX friend Jim suggests, it could well be that Webb doesn't want the wind directly on GANNET'S stern with the main blanketing the foresail.  Once he gets past the doldrums he should have wind on the beam.  That's the approximate position of his last YB track below.