Tuesday, August 30, 2022

sail washing day, illegible

Sailing washing day here.  Spent the morning packing all the basic gear - life vests, throw cushions, anchors, etc - back on SPARTINA. All afternoon scrubbing the sails and I've got to say very happy with the results.

It was a bit of the spectacle in the neighborhood as I rigged the boat and partially raised the sails to dry them.  I also wanted to do a rigging check.  I want to make a couple small adjustments and then might take SPARTINA down to Elizabeth City for a test sail on the beautiful Pasquotank River later this week.

Put on two new fishing rod holders, one for a trolling line and one for a spinning rod.   It will be striper season during the fall sail.  Two years ago I had excellent luck with the stripers, last year not so much.

Poking around under the foredeck I saw the silver dollar from 1926, the year that Dad was born, has been pounded to the point that it is no longer legible.  A lot of miles on the highway with the short stubby mast that supports the main and mizzen masts while trailering, a lot of miles on the water too.  That coin has seen more use than I had ever expected.


Saturday, August 27, 2022

sometimes a paint shed, sometimes a boat shop, mostly a garage

The Pilgrim has given me full use of the garage for a few days.  Normally I keep the boat/trailer on the left side of the garage, she parks her car on the right.  For bottom painting I needed to jack SPARTINA off the trailer to get full access to the bottom.  

Tomorrow I'll finish up the painting, which is mostly touch up painting.  Monday I'll get the boat back on the trailer.  Tuesday shows a good forecast for washing the sails then bending them onto the spars.

About half the food is packed, 16 breakfasts and lunches in one-gallon bags, then a dozen each of canned tuna, RX Bars and meat bars are vacuum-packed for the second half of the fall sail.  As friend Curt says "cans of tuna make for good ballast."

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

progress, and a little packing

Had SPARTINA outside for some new paint.

Workboat fishing of course.

And when letting epoxy, varnish or paint dry
I've tried to begin packing food.


Wednesday, August 17, 2022

time for some maintenance

That's SPARTINA reflected in the water at the ramp Monday morning.  Got down to the basin before 8:00 a.m. and snuck out before the scheduled 10:00 a.m. arrival of a cruise ship.  As I slid the boat on to the trailer I found the water to the noticeably cooler than just a few weeks ago.  The seasons are beginning to change.

A lot of the maintenance involves spots like this on the mizzen and main booms and also on the main mast.  Some places will need sanding to bare wood, epoxy and varnish, others will just need some fresh varnish.  There are a couple of fittings that I'll remove and reinstall, drilling out the holes and epoxying in mahogany dowels to give me a fresh spot for new screws, etc.  Plus some tiny adjustments to the rigging, always doing a little bit of that.  And touch up the bottom paint too.

 Final project will be washing the sails.  They have been exposed to the elements quite a bit this year and I want to clean them up a bit.

It all means a few weeks off the water, longer than I would like.  Next time I launch it will be in Cambridge for the fall cruise.  

Sunday, August 14, 2022

the last summer sail (really, I mean it this time), a friend from the past

I had thought I might get a slow drift in this morning.  Down at the waterfront there was a heavy overcast and not enough wind to even ruffle the surface of the river.  So instead I ran some errands.  Back just after noon I found clear skies and the wind beginning to fill in.  It was a northeast wind which meant ithe breeze passed through the tall buildings downtown and swirled out over the river.  Fun, easy sailing with the gusts changing directions by 90 degrees at times.  Plus the Sturgeon Moon, a full moon from a few nights ago, left us with an extremely high tide and a strong current as the water rushed out of the river.  A perfect way to end the summer sailing season.

SPARTINA danced in the wind and I was reminded of how much lighter she is for day sailing.  When cruising there is much more on board in the way of gear and food and she feels more solid with the extra weight.  (I'm curious to know how much extra weight is on board while cruising, I might try to weigh the gear as I load up in a few weeks.). I prefer the lighter boat for day sailing, and the heavier, more solid boat for cruising.

A special delight was seeing a schooner come out of the southern branch and turn west onto the main branch of the Elizabeth River.  Those two masts looked familiar and as she turned towards me I recognized her as the scow schooner NINA out of Baltimore. (You can read about this interesting vessel here at TownDock.)  We sailed along side each other for a while, each boat taking photographs of the other.  Compliments were exchanged and I reminded the couple on board that we had passed each other on a canal in North Carolina a couple of years ago.  "I remember that!" said the woman on board.  I wished them a safe journey as they headed downriver.


Saturday, August 13, 2022

the last summer sail

 Absolutely beautiful fall-like conditions for the last sail of the summer.  Steady north wind gusting to the high teens, cool dry air that peaked in the low 80s.  Just a wonderful sail.  I may go out again tomorrow but from the forecast that is more likely to be a drift instead of a sail.  We'll see. 

SPARTINA comes home on Monday for a couple weeks of much needed maintenance.  Then some travel, then the fall sail will begin in Cambridge on the Eastern Shore late September.  Can't wait.

Wednesday, August 10, 2022

last night

 A photo from my friend Susz
as I sailed along with the Tuesday night races.

Sunday, August 7, 2022

launched, sailed, barred

Congratulations to Chris on the launching of his Phil Bolger Chebacco ARTAX.  He has been working on the 19' 8" cat yawl for a few years and she looks very nice.  I have always thought it is a nice design and no doubt he will enjoy sailing her.  

Chris emailed me about the launching and mentioned he has some questions about the rigging of the gaff-rigged main.  He asked if he could maybe sail on SPARTINA and take a look at her rigging.

I had plans to sail this morning so told him he was welcome to come along.  Calm winds and almost glassy water when he arrived, the winds filled in nicely just as we raised sail.  It was an enjoyable few hours on the river.

With the disappearance of Tanka Buffalo Cranberry bars from the market I have been in search of a new meat bar for my steak and eggs cruising breakfast.  I have already found the solution:  Jack Links Beef Strips.  I ordered a dozen from Amazon and tried one on yesterday morning's sail.  I found them to be very good.  An added bonus that was a surprise to me, they come from New Zealand.  Anything that comes from New Zealand - people, boat designs, wine, freeze dried meals and meat bars - is bound to be good.

Sometime today I should receive two dozen egg-white based RXBARS, the "eggs" of my steak and eggs breakfast, from Amazon.  A few new (to me) flavors should be mixed in:  Apple Cinnamon, Coffee Chocolate and Mint Chocolate.   All sound good.

The fall trips is still about six weeks away, yet it feels like it is getting closer and closer.

Friday, August 5, 2022

twenty years ago today / Smith Island waterspout and tornado

An invitation arrived a few days ago for a reception this evening at the Mariner's Museum in Newport News.  I was surprised to learn that today is the 20th anniversary of the raising of the turret of the ironclad USS Monitor off of Cape Hatteras. By chance and some help from a US senator  I was fortunate to be involved in the recovery of an important part of naval history (that is my photograph on the invitation).  I will attend the reception and look forward to seeing the work they have done to preserve the turret and the contents found within.  I also look forward seeing the scientists, navy divers and colleagues I worked with that summer 20 years ago.


This morning MaryLou, my longtime friend from Rock Hall, tells me of another waterspout.  This one was off Smith Island on Chesapeake Bay.  Here is a link where you can watch the video of the waterspout as it comes ashore at Rhodes Point and becomes a tornado (here is the YouTube link).  Noted Chesapeake Bay photographer Jay Fleming has set up a gofundme site to help the islanders with the damage.  MaryLou says there were no serious injuries but the damage to structures was significant.  


Tuesday, August 2, 2022



This morning Pilotonline.com published this image of a waterspout over Pamlico Sound near Ocracoke Island.  Just spectacular.  It was made by Casey Robinson, an Ocracoke school teacher who photographs under the name Actively Awkward Photography.  What more can you say about a perfect image?