Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Ford Explorer Visor Brackets

I seldom blog about non-sailing topics, and never for the express purpose of boosting a product, but this guy deserves a boost. I have a soft spot for people selling stuff via a blog.

The factory visor bracket is a bit of plastic junk, not designed properly for the service. Failure is routine after about 5-7 years, generally on both sides, and costing about $170/side if the dealer does the work. Although the part should be only a few dollars, you must buy the entire visor and take the ceiling down in order to wire it up.

I stared at the problem for while, determined that replacing the whole unit would be an expensive pain, and that a smarter solution would be a set of 3 aluminum plates that could clamp the shaft. I have a full shop and the correct aluminum plate, but I also knew it would take a few hours of fitting to get it just right.

And then a little internet browsing brought me to this, exactly the solution I had envisioned!


Installation is a breeze:
  • Pop the cover off with a screwdriver in the corners. It may have fallen off already.
  • Unscrew the broken bits.
  • Place the three plates around the shaft. Look a the above picture (top plate in the above picture is against the ceiling" and get them in the correct order; the bottom plate is beveled to accept the cover, and the top plate is beveled to match a shoulder on the shaft.
  • Wiggle the screws through and tighten.
  • Snap the cover on. A tap with the heel of the screw drive may be needed.
The visor feels tight and the parts should last as long as the car. Order a pair for $37.99 and fix both sides in 10 minutes. Faster than you could drive to the dealer.

 I have not re-installed the cover in this photograph. It snaps right on, so the finished result looks factory perfect.

The Engine Shuffle--Three Boats and Still Ticking

Some sort of PDQ record, maybe.

______________

First they were at home on PDQ 36 Page 83, where they were usurped by sexy new 8 hp engines with power tilt.

Then they were retired from PDQ 32 Shoal Survivor, after one too many minor problems made them doubtful for an up coming cruise. Sexy new 9.9 Yamahas captured my heart.

And now they have moved south to the Florida sun, where they will power PDQ 32 Dog House. Perhaps I retired them too soon--they were still running strong, except for a shorted coil and thin patience and a weak back on my part. I hope they live on for at least few more seasons.


 I believe the Dog House stable must contain more used and parts 9.9 Yamahas than any non-dealer. Ironically, my boat is on it's 3rd set of engines; hopefully, the new ones give me a lot of years.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Deale After Sandy

rev 10-31-2012:

For any Phipps Marina slip holders that follow my blog, your boats are fine. There is no power in town and the sound of many generators is the new normal. The surge didn't get up on the grass, from appearances.

I'll revise this post later with some pics and stuff, but i thought you'ld like to know.

_____________________________

A few pictures, as promised.

Damage that I came a across? A few traffic lights out in the morning, numerous small branches down in our yard, and no power for 24 hours. The Federal government closed (wimps), causeing too many local businesses to follow in lock-step group think, in over reaction to damage and disruption that was only about what we get a few times each year from thunderstorms or ice storms.
Phipps Marina? No boat had any damage that I could see, nor anything obvious at any of the marinas in town. I seemed that the surge was only ~ 2-3 feet, as predicted. A lot of boats were pulled at the last moment, a lot of tarps removed, and a lot of sails stripped.

Shoal Survivor? My recent window gasket replacements were well tested and found satisfactory. Most of the bird poo was removed, but alas not the staining.

It felt funny, walking on decks that were, in places at other marinas, only a few inches above the water, as though I was stepping onto floating debris. At some marinas boaters were seen walking on water, inspecting boats from docks that were a few inches awash.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

I'm So Glad No Wooden Boat Called To Me

When I first moved to this marina, Native Son was a well maintained work boat and a bit of traditional art. The fit, as 4 generations have lived on the property, and even more generations worked the local waters.


March 2011. And then crabbing suffered and the owner started a successful marine carpentry business, which financially was a much better idea. There has always--so it seems--been a marine railway on the property. But wood doesn't understand about priorities and change.

May 2012: The boat to the right sank in the neighboring slip but was refloated several years ago, and yet the owner pays slip rental for a bot he has not visited or worked on since. Sorry about the blurs; I'd been kayaking and got a blotch of saltwater on the lens.


Fiberglass is dull, predictable, and functional. I like that. I'm fascinated that marine carpenters learned to make such functional machines from trees, but I'm satisfied that modern engineering and materials make the sport and the pastime so accessible and practical. Of course, we've added gadgets to keep the maintenance and finances challenging; what does that say about human nature?

Friday, October 26, 2012

Huricane Preparation

Not the common "double you lines" or "haul out" sort of advice. Small things that don't make the standard lists. I'm not on the sea coast and even a direct huricane hit on the Chesapeake is a tropical storm without the waves; a mess and quite strong, but very survivable with moderate preparations.
  • No sharp stuff. Check your docks for nails, hose hangers, and any hazardous dock accessories. I almost lost my boat when the rope looped over a rusty nail left in a finger dock by a prior tenant nearly sliced a line in half over night during a winter storm.
  • Limited slack. Too much slack and the tugging becomes extreme. Too much slack and a line can hook on too something it shouldn't. Check length by taking each line off its cleat, raising the line to the hieght of  the expected surge with the slack just removed, and recleating to that length. Spring lines generally need less slack than bow and stern lines. Also consider extra low tide; sometimes there is a reverse surge, depending on wind dirrection. The upper Cheaspeake is expected to see up to 5 feet below average low tide, which will put many (most?) boats on the bottom. Will your boat lean?
  • Chafe gear. Make certain it is secured and won't shift. I've been using this for 25 years and believe in it. I didn't start marketing it until I had spent 20 years proving the product on boats and industrial applications.
  • Check window seals. The most common source of leaks is dirt in the seal, so wipe the seals clean. 15 hours of horizontal rain will find any leaks.
  • Make certain the dingy can drain. Remove any screen or flapper valve from the drain; they're a bad idea anyway. Clean the inside of leaves and junk. Tilt more than normal on the davits. Support with tricing lines. Of course, you could take it off.
  • Secure the roller furler. Wrap the spinnaker halyard around the furled sail in the reverse direction, so that it cannot unfurl. Secure the sheets and furler line on winches. Or you could take it off.
  • Remove any tarps. They'll just beat themselves to death and add windage.
  • Seal the slider. Stuff towels in the cracks, because it will allow spray in.
And go home and take down the Halloween decorations, I supose. Damn.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Easier Winterizing

rev. 11-30-2012

I'm not clear why a boat made in Canada came without the most basic provisions for winterizing.


______________


The Head

Since I stay in the water all winter, I need to be able to winterize every hose. During the coldest weeks I flush with a weak glycol solution, so the down stream portions are no concern. I pump-out before it gets too cold for the stations to close and generally make it until they thaw. However, the suction side presents a problem. Additionally, I've had occasional trouble with sea grass fouling the intake valve on the head pump. Two years ago I installed a simple Y-strainer, which solved the clogging problem, but it was very difficult to clean; the lid would stick and the location and leverage were terrible. About a year ago I replaced the intake hose, upgraded the strainer (also a freebe) and moved it to a more convenient location in the holding tank compartment, and added a glycol addition fitting. No more clogs and 5-minute winterizing. Yes, the fittings are light-duty (SCH 40 PVC), but this is 30 inches above the waterline in a bulkheaded compartment. Corrosion resistance and scaling resistance seemed more important.

To winterize the sea cock side:
  1. Place the head pump in the locked position.
  2. Clean the strainer, if you think it's due.
  3. Open the sea cock.
  4. Open the blue valve and add ~ 1 quart of glycol from a jug on deck (it also has a drain valve).
  5. Close the sea cock.
To winterize head side:
  1. Open the blue valve.
  2. Unlock the head pump and pump until you see red.
  3. Close the blue valve.
Why red instead of pink? I use ethylene glycol (EG) antifreeze on the head system:
  • I get it for free (we make it).
  • The affect on the sewage plant is less than for propylene glycol (pink non-toxic, AKA PG) because less is needed (PG is less effective, on a percent basis) and they biodegrade at the same rate.
  • Ethylene glycol is NOT more toxic to fish or the environment. It is only more toxic to mammals. Don't take my word for it--read the MSDSs.  
  • The head side is most certainly not potable!
  • EG is less harmful to the hoses and joker valve than PG. Just a little, but that is one of the reasons propylene glycol is not favored by automotive OEMs. On going testing also suggests that PG is tough on the neoprene joker valves common in Jabsco heads. Raritan and Groco use nitrile joker valves, which are more resistant. Since these valves are interchangable (identical dimensions) you could always use a Raritan joker valve in your Jabsco head.
  
The Pressure System

Adding just a few valves made this into an easy one-gallon job. 15 minutes, tops.
  1. Pump the tank empty. Remove what remains by bailing with a cup or with a shop vac. No glycol in the tank.
  2. Close the valve to the left of the strainer. 
  3. Open the valve to the right of the strainer and place the hose in a jug.
  4. Open every tap on the boat, both hot and cold, and let run until glycol comes out. Have a jug handy to catch any extra.
  5. Once the jug runs empty (most likely before you are finished), let it blow air through the pipes for just a few minutes. Open every tap you have winterized and catch what comes out. It will be enough for the rest of the boat. Don't forget the transom shower.
  6. Close the glycol valve.
  7. Remove the strainer, clean, and put a little glycol in it. Yeah, I could just leave it off, but I know I'll forget in the spring and get a slight flood.
Only non-toxic propylene glycol on the potable side, obviously.


After reading Mike's link, I figured I should add these. I've also posted winterizing stuff here.


Shower Drain

I guess I might as well mention this, while on the topic. Pour about a quart in the drain and pump.


Sinks

They're all hose and drain anyway. Skip it.


Engines

They drain if raised.



_______________


 The previous owner blew out lines and disconnected lines. I spent a season chasing leaks in connections that had been opened too many times and replacing cracked fittings on the water heater that didn't quite drain. This is MUCH better. The only thing lazier would be wintering in Grenada....

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Your Closest Call

Rev. 10-15-2012

No, I've had no resent misadventures, but a brush with an inattentive sailor a few days ago reminded me of my closest brush with real danger on the water. Sinking and multiple deaths were very possible, though only a few hundred yards from the harbor.

I was sailing full and by on my Stiletto 27 with my parents in a nice breeze. We'd been going 10-12 knots for 30 minutes on starboard tack. We were approaching a 60-foot sled, also going to the weather, but on port tack, also making 10-12 knots. Sometimes it appeared I would be clear ahead, sometimes a near crossing, depending on the shift. It was a sharply trimmed boat with Kevlar sails; I felt confident it held an attentive crew.

As we came near it seemed he was heading below my stern, but it was only a shift. The wind headed and I realized we were on something near a collision course. At the same moment I realized I couldn't see any faces. At a closing speed of over 20 knots, boat lengths melted away and I was ahead but not clear ahead.

If I were to tack away I would be dead in the water in front of a boat going 12 knots that would crush and cut my 1200-pound Stiletto in half. If I de-powered I would lose the speed I needed to maneuver, and with the shifts perhaps only worsen my position. If I were to bear away and the racer/60-footer did what I expected, what the rules require and bore off at the last moment, we would go head-on at 20+ knots and I would lose AND be at fault the stand-on vessel that failed to stand-on.

I bore off anyway, yanking the tiller hard, accelerated to 15 knots, and passed only 10 feet from the side of the other boat; our our crossing speed rose to over 25 knots. As I passed I shouted that he "should stay at the dock if he couldn't afford a bow-watch." His hood-ornament date, sitting in the cockpit but facing backwards, fell startled from her perch to the cockpit sole. The skipper started running all over the cockpit, struggling for a better view point, but NOT looking at me, suddenly realizing the fool he was and wondering what else might be out there.

No harm done. But a collision between my Stiletto and a 60-footer head on would not have been about scratched paint, it would have been about missing people. A water-borne collision between a big rig and a Smart Car.

-----------

Non-sailors expect stories about storms and dark nights. Engine failures at bad times. While those things can be scary and inconvenient, there is time to think. On the other hand, I've had a number of crossings when I was on starboard and no one was looking that were closer than they should have been. No, I don't go looking for close encounters, but I sail crowded water in the summer and sometimes I would just swear a boat was sailing well and the crew paying attention, when in fact the only thing they were watching was that deck-sweeping genoa.

So what was your closest call?

Saturday, October 6, 2012

It's Sweet When You Stay in Love With the Girl You Brought

rev. 5/16/2013. 
Sail Magazine just did a laugher of a review (June 2013). No negatives, got the displacement wrong by 30%, gave the draft as 34 feet, guessed at the speed instead of reading the GPS; Funny stuff. Guess who advertises there. A common thread in Sail Magazine reviews.


I'm talking about boat shows and dock-walking, of course.

A few days ago I visited the Annapolis Boat Show, trolling for article ideas rather than a new boat and other boat toys, but of course, I spent a little time walking thought the latest offerings and looking at the ideas there in. Coincidentally, the very next morning, I left on an overnight trip, and so I've measure this against that, at least on my scale, and sumarized my thoughts. I'm not saying which is better--a boat must fit the buyer--just pointing to some things I see. Why am I so interested? Once they were built locally, on the Chesapeake Bay, and they were the first boats to interst me in cruising catamarans.

Let me be clear: I still like the Gemini. I just don't understand some of the design changes and the dirrection they have gone.

Also, read this excellent blogger review.


Note that they have coiled the lines that terminate at the jammers over on the side deck, where they would wash overboard into the screw. Hiding the rat's nest. The helm position and visibility are quite good.

New on the Gemini Legacy
  • Price. About $280 K loaded, or about double what a loaded 105Mc was in 2003. There are a lot of used cats for $220 K with an $60K refit that would bury the Gemini in every category. But some people really like new, which I can understand, sort of. I prefer new cars, but boats and houses are different.
  • Lower bridge deck. The boat show model was 4 inches off the water, with empty tank, bins, and no dingy on the davits. I suspect loaded it would be about 3 inches above the water and would slap on everything. Gemini's own web site pictures (with no dingy and most probably very light-ship) show no clearance whatsoever underway when sailing. They got 6'7" standing headroom, but the cost was far too high. How many buyers are 6'6" anyway? Less than 0.5% for men 40-65 according to CDC study.
  • Spinnaker on fixed sprit. The Gemini 105Mc allowed the tack of the chute or reacher to articulate from side to side. Now there is only a fixed sprit, which some marinas will charge as length. A sprit works, on a performance cat that always carries the apparent wind forward of the beam. But on a cruising cat, the best VMG down wind--and often in the direction you are headed, particularly for Chesapeake Bay and coastal sailors--is obtained when the apparent wind is well aft of the beam, perhaps 110 degrees off the bow. In this case, the sail sets better if taken to the windward bow. Leave it on the sprit and it simply collapses from lack of air flow. I've sailed several sprit cats and that is what I've learned; they hate going deep. 
  • No sill between the cockpit and cabin. No real protection from following waves. Considering how low she rides and the short transoms--they've used the space clear to the end for cockpit, even though she is longer--waves are going to ride into the cockpit in a steep following sea if you don't keep your speed way up. For coastal sailing, OK perhaps, if the sailor is very careful. But not a good concept and not an ocean boat, not this low to the water. The older Gems and the 105Mc had a 6-inch sill and a more closed aft cockpit. They claim these hulls are "proven off-shore," but that is a half truth; the 105Mc is well proven, but the hulls have been changed, weight added, and safety features removed. She needs to be re-proven, looking at this transom.


 Low clearance and very little to stop following waves from entering the cockpit. No dingy, no cruising load. They want more headroom than she has to give.
Engine access is through hatch behind the head.
Just shoot me now.
  • Improved boarding railings. Really nice. Though I think the side railing blocks too much of the sugar scoop from the side for boarding, but that is personal taste.
  • Boarding ladder rungs are painfully narrow, at least for mature feet.
  • No ledge or shelves--zero--accessible to people seated in the salon. Everything goes on the table (no fiddle) or the seat. Rather of like a model house, stripped and fitted with miniature furniture, not practical.
  • Greatly improved helm visibility. Yup, they fixed the problems. I prefer a completely unobstructed view, but given the advantages for a small cat in salon headroom, I give them a solid B+ for this. IF the enclosure made sense it would get them an A, but the enclosure can't be used when sailing.
  • Winches and jammers cannot be reached when the enclosure is up. Oops.
  • No cam cleats for winch tails. How do you set them for quick release in  blow, given how hard they are to reach? 
  • Engine access. Oh dear.
  • Nice cockpit layout for lounging. And yet because there are only 2 winches, little that the crew can do to help out. Clearly this boat is NOT designed with even casual racing in mind, or even the cruiser who likes to press hard.
  • Improved helm position. Subtle changes, including a lower wheel, that add up to an improvement. Nice. I prefer an actual seat for long shifts at the wheel, but I really like the new Gemini Legacy placement. On the other hand, the helmsman is stuck out in the weather and sun. If you add the optional helm seat, them moving around the cockpit and getting to sail controls is more painful. Visibility becomes limited. OK for day sailing, where you sit to the side, but for long hauls you are going to want a helm seat and will suffer with poor visibility.
PDQ 32, for comparison. 
      Two-three opening ports (3 on starboard) on each side in the galley and nav/head areas, plus 1 large and 5 small opening ports on each aft stateroom.  
       Six winches (2 each side plus 2 on mast, all 2-speed, 4 are self tailing)
       Winches and jammers are inside enclosure.
       20-inch bridge deck clearance.
       No blind spots.
       3 1/2 feet of protection from any following wave, plus a 6-inch sill on the door.
  • Swapped boards for mini keels. Though many criticize the change, it does decrease maintenance and increase space. I see this only as a change, neither plus nor minus. I think most buyers will prefer the keels. I've had both and can testify the differences are minor and offsetting.
  • Smaller, minimally-overlapping jib. Given that her weight keeps going up--nearly 2000 pounds more than the PDQ 32 with the same sail area (with genoa--The Gemini is limited to a small jib by the shroud location) and new fixed screws and heavier engines, she's going to be under powered in light winds. The PDQs with square top mains are much faster and I'm sure the 105Mc is faster.
  • Better engines and more power. Twin diesels and a huge fuel tank give her more speed, better maneuvering, better reliability and better range.
  • Fixed props. Less speed due to drag. The props will require regular cleaning by a diver.
  • Hard to see the traveler position. But nice to have it safely out of the way. On the other hand, the high mounting changes the sheet angle when eased for broad reaching; the boom is going to rise and the main will twist something terrible. She'll need a vang to keep the sail under control and off the shrouds. Of course, with no winch available, a vang could not be adjusted underway. 10 jammers, I think, and perhaps they'll put that one on port. The gooseneck looked strong, the boom fat and the mast step beefy, so all should handle the load. 
  • Build quality. Too soon to say. Those at the boat show were very early production, nearly prototypes. I didn't see any obvious flaws and some things were clearly built a bit better than before. Not as rock-solid as the 15-year old PDQ, but not quite as soft and creaky as the 105Mc.
  • Ventilation. The double (twin mattresses) bunks have very little ventilation with either a single small or a mis-located hatch. The queen berth is well ventilated.
  • AC. Nice installed AC, but this is because there is poor ventilation otherwise. No opening hatches on the sides, none aft, none in some cabins. Dock queen or marina hopper, since the AC is not available at anchor. Some do come with Panda generators to mange the AC, but running a generator  all night is not my idea of cruising. Some will like it.
  • Storage space. With the inboards, AC, and generator, a lot of space has disapeared. A small matter if cruising for a few days, but a problem if cruising for weeks.
  • No visibility outside from the galley. Add to that the absence of any ventilation on the sides or down low, and this is an excellent recipe for sea sickness when sailing in anything rough. The PDQ has a lower row of hatches down each side.
 
Note the lack of opening hatches, the jammer location, and the rope piled by the jammers. Nine ropes terminate there.

Pre-existing Gemini faults still in evidence.
  • Winches are hard to reach and hard to get 2 hands on. Like the 105Mc, the starboard winch can only be reached by the helmsman (he blocks all access).
  • Only one winch on each side. Considering all sails, all reefing, and all halyards are controlled from the cockpit, this is laughably inadequate. Yes, there are jammers (nine of them, some quite out of reach), but in a breeze leaving sails in the jammers is unseamanlike. At the very least, there should be a secondary winch on starboard; however, the deck curvature is going to make this installation tricky and limit the things the secondary can do. If the starboard winch fails or gets a bad override, you've got a pickle. The 105Mc's often came with mast mounted winches. The furler lines were not led to winches (just to cleats near the toe rail), which usually worked but could be strenuous if the wind was up.
  • No forward visablity from the salon. Just a personal dislike. But it also means I cannot keepwatch from the salon, which I sometimes do off-shore on the PDQ 32. The convenience is easy to undervalue if you have never enjoyed it. It also makes lounging in the salon while underway far more enjoyable--you can actually see where you are!
  • Forward bunks are hard to sleep in underway. Aft is better.
  • Still suffers from limited access to certain compartments.
  • Crew cabins lack privacy. No door, just a hole to crawl into. That is a cabin? No, that is a bunk. Just call it what it is.
  • Dingy still sticks too far out the back for a cat. Some marinas will charge for that length. With the sprit and dingy she's really 40 feet.
I spent about 15 minutes discussing some of the above with the designer. He said "today we design for a different kind of sailor," a polite way of saying that visual presence over rules off-shore practicalities. More of a dock queen and motor sailor, and less of a sailor's boat. He's a smart guy and I'm guessing that for his new type of customer--Hunter's idea of a customer--he's right. But I'm still struggling with a single winch to handle...
  • Main sheet
  • Genoa sheet
  • Main halyard
  • Genoa halyard
  • Spinnaker sheet
  • Reef 1
  • Reef 2
  • Furler
  • Vang (needed)
  • And how do we rig twings, barberhaulers, and preventers without a spare winch? 
I've never seen over-cluching this bad, not in a cartoon. On a catamaran, the most basic understanding of capsize safety demands that each active sheet has a dedicated winch and a cam cleat for the tail. A tackle with cam cleat is also good, as installed on the 105Mc. The 105Mc also had halyards led to winches on the mast rather than sheet stoppers because the designer, Tony Smith, said "you're operating on a stable platform, even in a blow," so moving forward is not as treacherous.
    By way of comparison, my PDQ has 6 winches and only 3 jammers on the cockpit bank, one of them for a separate self tacking jib sheet, a line the Gemini does not have! I can nearly always assign a winch to a task. I can always divide crew labor, if I need or want to. For example, yesterday we were driving hard in a blow, enough that the windward hull was getting a little light in the gusts. I sat at the genoa winch, with the line out of the self-tailer, ready to release. I sat to leeward of the helmsman for better visibility and well aft, out of his way. The main was still on a winch but out of the tailer and in a cam cleat for quick release, also within my easy reach, allowing the helmsman to focus on crab pots and puffs. Both of these precautions are quite impossible on the Gemini. We could have reefed earlier, gone 2 knots slower, and been quite bored. We'd have been better off with a nice monohull for less money. Hunter's market must be for sailors that want a cat but aren't cat sailors. Perhaps they're thinking charter fleets, a fine market for dull, comfortable looking, rugged cats. Not for folk who enjoy sailing at 9-10 knots full-and-by, in a 32-foot cruising boat.

    Did I see anything new at the show that I pine for? If I were living aboard or sailing with more people, bigger is better. For cruising the Chesapeake, generally out for 1-7 nights with 1-3 people, I really like the PDQ 32 and haven't seen anything I really like better. I could like the Tom Cat; I bet it's faster and I like the shallow draft. I could live on the Gemini better; more space and easier to live in when buttoned up with heat and AC. The cockpit is lovely, when you're not sailing. But my family has sailed these and likes the PDQ better for adventure cruising. Yesterday's small craft advisory sailing highlighted what a sea boat needs to be. So I still like the old girl best and my loyalty has not wavered, even after Hunter "improve" the Gemini. If I were buying a Gemini, I'd stay with the 105Mc.

    My 20th wedding anniversary is only a few days away too. That still adds up right too. But I'm not posting the pluses and minuses and she won't let me take any new models for a test drive.



    Lost in the James Island Wildlife Refuge

    A successful over night expedition, featuring following winds, fair weather, beer, and returning with the same number of sailors that we started out with. All good statistics.

    We could be anywhere...

    October 5
    My long-time climbing buddy and I loaded up and sailed the 25 miles from Deale to Slaughter Creek, mostly under spinnaker in lightish wind, but generally enough for 5-7 knot speeds. Pleasant. Plenty of time to solve the worlds problems and puzzle out some light air sailing improvements. We had not teamed-up on the boat for over a year, so there was some re-learning, of course. All good--and how I hate that over used cliche.

    The goal, the purpose for coming, was to do a more satisfying exploration of the James Island Wildlife Refuge by kayak. I'd been there before, but never with sufficient time to explore deeply. Arriving just after noon, we had plenty of time...

    ... To get lost.

    We didn't actually get lost. We paddled steadily for 3 hours, through narrow guts and across open ponds,
    through breaks in the reeds, and in open fairways. When returning, we chose a generally parallel path that didn't waste much distance but never backtracked. And yet, no matter how I study the Google and Bing images, I can't begin to plot where we went. Some explorers we are.

    However, we found satisfaction with our remaining athleticism; our aging bodies held up though miles of sustained paddling with no apparent strains and with no real soreness the next days. The only evidence of the mileage was feeling dead tired that evening, but that's what beer is for.

    October 6
    A small craft advisory breeze, always behind the beam, made for a quick return. A few reefs in the main and a full genoa kept her well balanced, heading for the barn. Almost dull, in fact, so we intentionally sailed just past the harbor, beating back up into the breeze for 5 miles, just for the expereince. We sailed higher and knots faster than a pair of 36- and 40-foot monohulled cruisers, dispelling or at least for today, suspending, the myth that cruising cats can't go to weather.

    A success, over all, if I could just figure out where we were....



    Thursday, October 4, 2012

    Real Small Boat Sailing--Log of Spartina


    The Log of Spartina

    Read this, about a trip part way around the Delmarva in a small open boat. Makes me wish I still had the Stiletto and the time to poke around. For inspiration, read all of the Spartina voyages.

    While this is probably a bit more adventure than most folks want, it is not a demonstration of daring do, but of good seamanship and resolve. And good photography.