"When I think of all the fools I've been it's a wonder that I've sailed this many miles." -Guy Clark

Sunday, February 24, 2019

rain, trailer work, outboard work, sous vide cephalopod

Rain a good part of the week, all day yesterday and this morning.  Not a weekend for sailing.  So I worked on the trailer.  Ahead of schedule, for once, I've got new cross frames put in place and installed repacked hubs.  So February has been mechanical month, March will be for painting.

Dropped off the Honda 2.3 4-stroke outboard with my neighborhood mechanic.  He said it was in good shape expect for the oil level inspection port where the plastic outer cover was popping out of place.  That would be #10 in the view above.  I ordered just part #10, then went back and ordered the entire assembly above for just over $30 and might be easier to install than just the one piece.  In doing research I read that two years ago Honda moved the manufacturing of the 2.3 from Japan to China.  Reports are there are a lot of problems with the Chinese version.  Glad to have the older model and will try to keep it in good shape.

Cooking octopus sous vide this afternoon, basically putting in a vacuum bag and immersing it in heated water for a period of time, in this case 180° for four hours.  That may seem like a lot of time but Stephen, owner/chef at the Los Angeles restaurant Spartina where I had the best and most tender octopus ever, said cooking the octopus legs slowly in seasoned olive oil was the key.  We'll see.  Dinner is at 6:00.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

disagree, but I'll still read the book / in praise of luggers / a new Navigator

I have heard from a couple sailing friends, Eddie of the Sooty Tern UNA and Steve of the Navigator Arwen, that Roger Barnes is a very well-known and respected small boat sailor.  They both speak very highly of his book The Dinghy Cruising Companion, saying it is an excellent primer on small boat cruising.

While I still disagree with his thought that the lugger is in some ways outdated (keep in mind he also said the designer "got a lot right" and called it a "truly groundbreaking design"), I don't discount his knowledge, abilities or experience.  In fact even before hearing from Steve and Eddie I had looked up his book on Amazon and downloaded the free kind sample.  Just those first few pages, excellent information on small boats mixed in with stories of this own journeys, caused me to add the book to my reading list.  I very much look forward to reading the book.


As for luggers, I'll copy and paste the comment from Kent.  He and his wife Audrey have owned the lugger ONKAHYE, above, since 1982.  And it is worth reading their article about the design in Small Boats Monthly.  Kent's comment to this blog....

John Watkinson specifically mentions four criteria for the boat he would design: It had to be easy “for the family to handle on and off the trailer,” have “first-rate seakeeping qualities,” be a “good motorboat for fishing and pottering under power,” and be “lively enough for me to enjoy a good hard sail once I had put the family on the beach.” We don't think the Lugger is outdated either, having owned one since 1982, and considering they are still being built in the UK. A great boat for a mess about. I think the Pathfinder has many of the same criteria. 


And lastly I came across this very fine Navigator under construction in, I think, Australia.

You can find it at the Little Fish blog, which is an interesting mix of boat building and, well, I don't even know how to describe it.  Take a look and you'll see.  Nice boat, Suzy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

the capsize

In an email Lorenzo, who built and sails the Pathfinder ASTRID, tells me about a recent winter sail in the Mediterranean with his youngest son Filippo in the Goat Island Skiff JOY SPRING.  He noticed a problem with the rudder but was unaware of just how bad it was.  Sailing downwind in a stiff breeze under full sail the rudder broke and JOY SPRING capsized.  Lorenzo caught it all on video with his GoPro.

Not to worry, Fillipo, Lorenzo and SPRING JOY got some assistance from another Goat Island Skiff sailing nearby, nothing worse than a chilly swim in their neoprene wetsuits.  I'm glad it all worked out well.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

capacious, not outdated, the new pad

Included in the upcoming issue of Small Craft Advisor, the one with Tom and his sea beagle "Baby" on the cover, is an interview with Roger Barnes.  I had not heard of Mr. Barnes before.  He is the author of the book Dinghy Cruising Companion and also the president of the Dinghy Cruising Association.  Above you see him sailing his Ilur dinghy AVEL DRO.  An email from SCA contained a part of his interview and I quote below....

Any boats besides your own that especially strike your fancy?
I still have a lot of time for the Drascombe Lugger. The design is outdated in some ways, and not without its flaws, but John Wilkinson got a lot right. A truly groundbreaking design. I also like Matt Layden’s Paradox—which rethinks everything you ever thought you knew about boat design. Whilst in New Zealand, earlier in the year, I was taken out in a John Welsford Pathfinder—a convincing and capacious dinghy evidently designed to look after her crew. (Complete interview in the coming issue)—Eds

While I am pleased to see John Welsford's Pathfinder, above, paired closely with the Drascombe Lugger, below, I am skeptical of his observation that the Lugger is "outdated."  How can a boat that sailed across oceans 50 years ago become outdated?  Food goes out of date, so can fashion and style.  Yawls that have proven themselves around the globe?  I don't think so.  

(Okay, true confession, I had to look up "capacious.")


The new Therm-A-Rest Evolite sleeping pad arrived today (actually the second sleeping pad, the first one arrived a couple days ago with a hole in it).  Self-inflating and thicker than my old pad, I believe I  will have some sweet dreams using the new piece of gear.  The Outdoor Research Bivy for this year is also new, a warranty replacement from OR because of some delamination of the waterproof base down near the foot area.    

Less than three months to the spring sail on Pamlico Sound.  I'm starting to get the fever already.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

training day

A few photos from Tom as he trains for the upcoming Everglades Challenge.

Look at that beautiful water as he paddles to Alligator Light.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

one less bridge to navigate

Good news from down south in Beaufort NC as the new high-rise Gallants Channel Bridge is open and Grayden Paul bascule bridge is locked open for boat traffic and in the process of being removed.  Here's a nice little video tribute the to the old bridge that opened in 1957 (the same year I was born).

Heading south from Pamlico Sound to Beaufort I take the Adams Creek Canal, often spending the night along the canal either Cedar Creek or Back Creek, which leads to Core Creek and then Gallants Channel that runs down on the east side of the Newport Marshes.  I have never timed it quite right, having to wait anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes for a bridge lift.  Below you'll see SPARTINA'S track as I went to a fuel dock and then anchored waiting for a lift.

The bridge tenders have always been great, but they have rules to follow, opening on the hour or half hour and no openings during rush hour.  Years ago with about a 10 minute wait the bridge tender asked if I could motor over to the side where he could take some photographs of SPARTINA.  How nice!  A strong current runs with the changing tide and it is not a great place to sit and wait for a lift.   Those days are in the past and it will be a much easier passage into Beaufort, one of my favorite little towns.

Cold and rainy this weekend so no sailing.  I've got some maintenance work to do and hope to get ahead of the curve on that.  

Monday, February 11, 2019

Oh Baby!

Check out the cover of the March/April cover of Small Craft Advisor.  That's Baby and Tom Head sailing the John Welsford Pathfinder FIRST LIGHT inside of Plantation Key.  Very cool to see this.  The only problem is Tom will be surrounded by autograph seekers on the beach at Fort DeSoto in early March as he preps his boat for the Everglades Challenge.

a winter's sail

Sailing was in doubt yesterday morning.  I made the drive south along the old Dismal Swamp Canal, the water in the ditches covered with a layer of ice.  32° when I got to the ramp in Elizabeth City, a stronger-than-forecast wind blowing out of the NE.  I had made the drive so might as well give it a shot.  I am glad I did.  (The cold inspired a quick rigging of SPARTINA, rushing to get the knots tied before my fingers became stiff.)

I of course wore the mango suit along with good quality thermals and a wool sweater.  The puppy drum-patterned buff kept my ears warm. 

The wind held steady for a couple of hours, almost enough to reef but not quite.  I had brought the GoPro camera along and decided to experiment with mounting it on the gaff, at first just above the jaws and then later at the peak.

The wind fell off about noon, then returned 20 minutes later out of the SE.  Perfect for a sail back to the dock, tacking our way back and forth across the Pasquotank River.  It was late afternoon before I hauled out.

Why is it the days when I almost don't go sailing turn out to be the best days on the water?


Saturday, February 9, 2019

cruising (sleeping) gear

An add from Outdoorplay caught my attention with the release of new models of sleeping pads, which meant there might be some of the old models on sale.  And there were.  The older model Therma-a-Rest EvoLite Sleeping Pad was marked at 35% off.  A good deal at $78 but am even better deal was available at REI with a clearance price of $60 with no shipping cost. 

This will replace my old Therm-a-Rest pad bought 11 or 12 years ago as a "second" from CampMor for about $20 (I think I got my money's worth out of it).  Self inflating with a two-inch lift, weighing in at 1.4 lbs and fitting in a stuff sack half the size of the old rolled up pad, I think this will be a good investment.  A good night's sleep is important.

three months, five knots, three weeks

Food arrived from Amazon.  Now the trick will be hiding it away so I don't eat it in the next three months.

Webb has very steady sailing in the tradewinds, his last mark showing over 5kts with wind and waves on the port quarter.  

Three weeks from today is the start of the Everglades Challenge.  Tom tells me he has been paddling 10 miles a day as training.  I'll never compete in that event but just following it online always marks the beginning of the end for winter.

Borderline sailing weather tomorrow.  Might sneak out on the Pasquotank for a few hours.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Super Sunday / The Windward Passage

No sailing today on Super Sunday.  Just one day off this week and I've got some projects to work on including building new saw horses for the spring bottom painting on SPARTINA.  

With the cold short days I always start thinking about the spring sail, this year's will be down on Pamlico Sound.  I placed some food orders this morning for the cruise.  At top are the buffalo/cranberry bars, part of my steak and eggs sailing breakfast (the eggs being Rx bars that I'll buy locally).  The Callipo canned tuna is for lunch.  And the Mango ginger chews are for snacks.


Webb is approaching the Windward Passage between Cuba and Haiti.  Looks like he will have contrary winds to get to the passage but once through he'll have the Tradewinds to carry him to Panama.

I have no favorites in the Superbowl.  Just hoping for a good game.