Wednesday, January 26, 2022

time and temperature

An indoor work day today.  Cold and windy outside.  The forecast for the next few days is not much better.  Maybe a few inches of snow this weekend.  So I have been packing waterproof duffels, sorting gear, counting batteries and cups of fruit.  

I bought a new ship's clock for SPARTINA, $8.88 at Walmart to replace the one that is stuck on Daylight Savings Time because the crown corrodes in the salt air.  I also picked up the outboard from my mechanic, a nice guy and ex-submariner who is very precise about everything he does - submariners are like that.  

Gaff jaws are complete with the new leather and a mast lashing held in place by waxed twine.  The new chainplates are in place too and I am pleased with how well they fit and matched the originals.

I do need two days of nice weather in the next two weeks.  One to finish the paint touchup and to do the bottom paint.  The second day to roll SPARTINA out to the street and set up the rigging to make sure everything fits in place.


Sunday, January 23, 2022

Wednesday, January 19, 2022

workboat finish, of course

Look close and you'll see three sets of dowels that have been put in the gaff jaws, one for each time I have replace the leather.  I drill out the hole left from the tack and epoxy in a piece of hardwood dowel.  At some point I wonder if SPARTINA will just be a bunch of dowels held together by epoxy.

Conditions this afternoon - mid-50s, sunny and a nice breeze - were perfect for multiple coats of Bristol Varnish.  At some point in the next couple weeks, should be get another warm day, I'll do a few more coats.  I did get enough on the jaws and the new mainsheet cam cleat pad that I can put leather on the jaws and install the new cam cleat.  

 Next big job will be fresh bottom paint.  With our forecast for the next couple week being in the 30s, that job may have to wait until February.

Tuesday, January 18, 2022

Webb's most quotable quote

Found this on Marshall Marine's Instagram feed just now.  I am glad they properly attributed the quote to Webb Chiles.  I have always been a fan of Marshall Marine's Sanderling.  If I even need a boat with a roof, that might be the one.

Sunday, January 16, 2022

two more sounds

Inside the front cover of my logbook from last winter's sail is a list of sounds between Charleston and Jacksonville.  I had found fourteen sounds marked on various charts and I crossed them off as I made my way south.  (I did sail through Sapelo Sound but did not get a chance to cross it off as I was busy with a broken mizzen, a tow to a marina, trying to get to a train station, etc, etc....).

Researching this winter's trip last night I found two additional sounds that I need to add to the list.  Green Island Sound, which I sailed through but did not realize it at the time, is immediately west of Ossabow Sound.  In fact I sailed down Green Island Sound and then used the cut known as Hell Gate - though it was calm and peaceful at the time - to get to the Ogeechee River, my track being to the west of what is marked as Ossabow Sound.  (I crossed the sounds off the list even if I sailed inside of them.)

The second "new" sound is Manhead Sound where the Frederica River meets the Mackay River just above St. Simons Sound.  I did not get that far south last year.

When planning last year's trip I initially made of a list of 11 sounds based on Henry Plummer's hand-drawn chart from THE BOY, ME AND THE CAT, then found three more sounds looking at the nautical charts.  Now I'll have to add two more to that list, giving me a total of 16 sounds between Charleston and Jacksonville.  

I'll use that same logbook on this upcoming trip, adding the two new sounds to the list and, hopefully,  cross each one off as I head south.


Friday, January 14, 2022

the weather has not been helpful

The weather, cold and windy, has not been helpful for the winter maintenance.  I have most of the epoxy work done but need to do the six or eight coats of Bristol Varnish.  The good thing about the varnish, should we get a day in the fifties, is that I can do at least four and possibly six coats in one day.  Typically varnish needs to be sanded between each coat but in the case of the two-part Bristol additional coats can be layered on within a certain time frame (two hours maybe?) and the varnish will have a chemical bond (vs. the physical bond you get with sanding).

The coming winter storm has me thinking about the weather I experienced on the winter trip down south last year.

The first day, with the drive down from Georgetown and the launch at Wappoo Cut, had a light fog in the morning but it was beautiful by 10:00 or so.

That first night was very pleasant on Rantowles Creek, the above being one of my favorite photographs showing a tug pushing a barge up the ICW sometime in the middle of the night.

Day two was sunny and hot as I sailed alongside Doug in his Marshall Catboat behind Edisto Island.

Day three began with a thick fog but that cleared away and it was sunny and hot by late morning.

Day four had a little bit of everything, beautiful morning sailing, heavy overcast, strong winds.  By the time I got to Hilton Head it was like a nice summer day, people walking around in shorts and tee-shirts.

The next two days were the only bad weather of the trip and it really wasn't that bad at all.  Just breezy and a little bit of rain.  Perfect timing as Webb invited me to wait it out in his condo, how nice was that?

Day seven it was very chilly as I left Skull Creek Marina, Webb taking this nice photograph of SPARTINA as I motored away on a windless morning.  Wind arrived later and by 11:00 it was hot.

Day eight was great wind, comfortable temperatures and I crossed a couple sounds, including St. Catherine's Sound under mizzen and jib.

Day nine, yeah, well, plenty of wind, cold and rain.  I was comfortable in my dry suit with some thermals layered on and heading south so well I expected to cross three sounds that day.  At least that was a plan until the mizzen broke.  Patrick from Boat US, who gave me a tow to a marina, said with the wind and rain he thought he would have an easy day, like who is gonna be out on the water on a day like that?  

In retrospect the weather was perfect for sailing a small boat down the ICW.  I'll hope for the same this winter.


Tuesday, January 11, 2022

video clips

Here's a little collection of video clips.  
I'll post a link on the blog at the top of 
the column at the right along with 
"the boat,""stormy" and "calm."


Monday, January 10, 2022

time for new leather on the gaff jaws

I had plenty of leather from the last time I redid the jaws,
the difficult part is tracking down the brass tacks.


Thursday, January 6, 2022

winter maintenance

Beautiful cool morning with a light overcast as I drove down to the ramp, left my jeep and trailer there and caught a LYFT to the Norfolk waterfront.  It is time to bring SPARTINA home for winter maintenance.  There has been a lot of sailing this year, the winter cruise in South Carolina/Georgia, three weeks on the water for the spring cruise in North Carolina and then five weeks on the water for the fall sail on Chesapeake Bay.  Plus a lot of day sailing.  2021 was a rough year, but at least a good year for sailing.

I passed by the FANTASY (which I had earlier mistakenly called the LONDON) on the way to the ramp.  It seems that the high winds and high tides from the winter storm carried her into shallower water.  I am told the owner is aware of this.

Once back at home I washed down SPARTINA and now fans are circulating air through her holds.  I made my first efforts at maintenance by removing the chain plates that have been in place since she was launched.  They seemed to be in good shape once removed but for very little money I will put brand new ones in place.

 Yard time, as the Navy calls it, will be about three or four weeks.  I may get our for a test sail in early February, I may not.  In any case I want her in good shape to head south in late February.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

on the Miles River

 Just came across this clip from sailing on the Miles River on a breezy day.

Sunday, January 2, 2022

hard times on Craford Bay

LONDON arrived on Craford Bay several weeks ago.  The man on board told me he was doing an "sail only" delivery from somewhere up on Chesapeake Bay to South Carolina.  The schooner did not appear to be able sail out around Cape Hatteras, and I can't imagine how a vessel this size could sail down the ICW.  

 Just to the north are two buoys that mark a powerboat that sank several years ago.  To the west are the remnants of another powerboat that burned to the waterline about this time last year.  Craford Bay is a popular ICW anchorage in the spring and the fall.  It is getting too crowded to have a third wreck in the little bay.

Saturday, January 1, 2022

Chestertown - gentle on my mind

By the rivers of my memories
Ever smilin' ever gentle on my mind

Chestertown, a favorite town on a favorite river.  Years ago I was invited to the Downrigging Festival after a chance meeting between SPARTINA and the tall ship SULTANA on the Chester River.  We attended for a few years, always a great time but weather, work and life got in the way.  I was very glad to be invited back this year.  Tall ships, bluegrass music, a one day nor'easter, great sailing, blue skies, friends both new and old, and, yes, oysters.  And it all started with a buck-fifty bus ride back to Cambridge to get my jeep and trailer.

Lots and lots of sailing.

And friends that I have crossed paths with before.

My waterfront room at the marina.

Oysters at Cannon 98.

Some bluegrass music.

And more oysters at the Retriever Bar.

The view from my room at dawn.

Somehow I ended up on the bow
of the rubber boat as the VIRGINIA
kedged out the 500 pound anchor
for a one-day nor'easter.

in the 40 mph gusts.

Oh yeah, more oysters at
the bluegrass festival.

Tall ships all around, left to right,
and the VIRGINIA.

A morning sail past the 

and the LYNX.

Nothing better than sailing
alongside tall ships.

Friends on board for an afternoon sail.

The waterfront at night.

Blue skies in the morning.

A nice photo from Stephanie,

Not too bad for a small boat with mast
that are obviously too short.

Whatever happened to my great plan to

build a boat and get away from everyone....