Saturday, February 22, 2020

San Diego, briefly

A quick visit to West Marine to put in an order for line, now off to catch a train. Back here in a couple days.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020


Cool and grey with a steady northeast wind.  A perfect day for not sailing.

Rigged SPARTINA in on the street outside the house, struggling to get those stiff new sails in place.  Angel came by and measured for the new sail covers.  I picked out a color - forest green - to match the hull.  She would not take a deposit.  Told me they are working six months out on projects but as this is a small one maybe in a month or so.

Monday, February 17, 2020

a new set of wings

The new set of sails from Stuart at Dabbler Sails arrived today.  They will be bent on SPARTINA briefly on Wednesday so that Angel from Little Bay Canvas can measure for a new set of sail covers. Then the new sails will come off, waiting until the new covers are completed before putting the new sails on for good.

These are custom sails in every sense of the word.  Stuart still had the sail plans with notes from John Welsford and myself for the first set of sail he made several years ago. 

He has studied photographs of SPARTINA under sail and he has examined the first set of sails for wear and stress points.

The materials, this time using a heavier Dacron, and workmanship are first rate.

From the invoice:


Three sails for Welsford Pathfinder yawl, main and mizzen loose footed on normal booms. Three standard battens in main. Two full battens in mizzen. Bronze hanks on jib, 3-strand boltropes with ducktails, 4 grommets in main and miz luffs for robands, UV-resistant sailbags and colored pennant to fly at peak of main. Main and mizzen shapes to be adjusted per our original e-mail discussions. To be in 5 oz relatively- soft woven Dacron.

I look forward to the first sail under the new wings.

Saturday, February 15, 2020

the gift

A gift from the Pilgrim,
to help me find my way in the new life.

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

the interview, spring supplies

The Small Craft Advisor interview with Webb Chiles is out in their March/April issue.  If you have a subscription, enjoy the piece.  If you don't have a subscription, go to your bookstore and buy a copy or, better yet, order a subscription.  In print there is no better supporter of small boats that SCA.

The interview is an enjoyable read.  Many of Webb's thoughts and comments I have read elsewhere in the past, here they are all put together and nicely packaged.

I was pleased to see that Webb, asked about small boats that he likes, mentions John Welsford's Pathfinder.  We are in agreement on that (yet questions linger as to whether or not it is really a Drascombe).


Whenever I am near a Bass Pro Shop or an REI I drop in to pick up a freeze dried meal or two, above.  When I am at certain grocery stores I buy two or three Rx Bars.  Buying a little here and a little there adds up.  Doing a count this morning have have nearly enough breakfast bars and dinner for what could possibly be a month-long sail.  

Dinners are a mixture of Mountain House Meals (though the ones available locally are servings for two, too much for me), Good To-Go meals, Alpinaire and OMeals (self heating meals that I am liking more and more).  There are even a couple of Outdoor Gourmet Meals from New Zealand, courtesy of Webb, in the mix.

I am continually surprised by the variety of flavors available in Rx Bars.  A new favorite, just found a week or so ago, is Peanut Butter and Berries.  It is excellent.  I have not yet had an Rx Bar that I did not like.  

Rainy and cool the next few days.  Not much of a chance to get out on the water.

Monday, February 10, 2020

light and variable

You can tell from the calm water in the photograph above and the reef lines in the one below that there was not much wind yesterday.  This was perfectly ok with me.  It has been a hectic couple of weeks, I just wanted some time on the water to decompress.  The wind came and went on the Pasquotank, shifting directions throughout the cool morning.  It was very pleasant.

After lunch, a sub from the grocery store, I anchored and enjoyed the day.  Eventually I laid down for what I thought would be a brief nap.  I fell in to the the deepest of sleeps, so deep that when I woke I did not know where I was.  I think I needed that deep sleep.

Stuart of Dabbler Sails tells me he is making good progress with the new set of sails.  I believe the main is complete and he is now working on the mizzen and jib.  I've contacted Angel at Little Bay Canvas about new sails covers.  Both Stuart and Angel were in agreement that she should not measure for the new covers - made out of sunbrella - until the new sails are bent on.  The old sails, well worn, would not give accurate measurements.  Not only would the new sails have more bulk simply because they will be new, but they are also a heavier material, 5.38 oz for the new versus 4.77 oz for the old.  

I'm in no rush to get the new sails, the current set works just fine.  And I am glad to work with people like Stuart and Angel who want to get the job done right.

Thursday, February 6, 2020

better than working for a living

Just above and slightly to the right of center in the photo above, white shirt, dark tie.  That's me.  I am a newspaper photographer.  Have been for nearly four decades.  And I will be for about 24 more hours.

I received this email yesterday.  VSIP stands for Voluntary Separation Incentive Program.  All I can say is "thank you."  I am grateful for 40 years of doing something that is better than working for a living.  

I get to hang around and take pictures.  What is not to like?  From kayaks to aircraft carriers, fixed wing aircraft, helicopters, blimps, amphibious landing craft, hover craft, submarines, tug boats, trains, laboratories, upscale kitchens, dimly lit alleys, operating rooms, court rooms, farms, islands, deserts, swamps, stadiums and state houses - those places have all been my corporate-designated workspace for well-over half my life.  Hurricanes and nor'easters, tornados, floods, fires, earthquakes, snow storms and ice storms - times that people should take shelter are the very times I go to work.

I almost always deal with absolute strangers, usually spending a routine day with them.  Or maybe it is the best day of their lives.  At times it can be the worst day of their lives.  Boundless joy, unbearable pain, incredible courage, I have witnessed it all.  It is an honor to be the one to tell their stories.

While doing my job I have been yelled at, cursed, physically attacked, threatened with arrest and charged with contempt.

While doing my job I have been thanked, sometimes with a handshake or a hug, a phone call or email.  And, on occasion, I have been thanked with a gentle kiss on the cheek.

I am honest enough with myself to know that I am a good photographer, not a great photographer.  There are better photographers out there, some of them are my friends and colleagues.  But I will tell you that nobody - nobody - enjoyed their job more than I did.  Like I said, it is (was) better than working for a living. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

bend tests and other measurements

That is 16 pounds of led tied to a line and hanging from SPARTINA's mizzen mast.  Stuart of Dabbler Sails is making a new set of sails for me.  He tells me the mainsail is complete and is now working on the mizzen and jib.  A bend test, which measures the amount of bend at three points on the mast, combined with his experience, will help him design the sail to match the boat.  

Stuart also needed a couple of measurements for the jib, both the size of the hanks on the current sail and the size of the forestay.  From measurements and memory I believe the forestay is 1/8" 1x19 stainless steel.

Stuart also suggested I look into sail covers to put on the sails when the boat is docked.  Currently my sail covers are on the sails only after the rig is broken down and stowed.  I have been spending more time on the water, more days and weeks where I leave SPARTINA on the water for evening and early morning sails.  Covering up those sails will protect them from the sun.  I've got an email off to my friend Angel at Little Bay Canvas - she and her crew made my boom tent - to see what she can do for me.

Can't wait to see the new sails.