A quick note on the SPOT…I am providing public tracking through the share service on findmespot and through Spot Adventures. I really don’t know how well they work, so it should be interesting to see how this all works out.

The links…

It will doubtless be a learning experience.

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The motor Lives!

Preps continue. The big news…the motor runs!

But, of course, I underestimated how long the remaining projects will take. It looks like a Friday departure is unlikely as I need one more day to get things well enough in order (and Friday just happens to be my next day off). Oh, well. There should be enough time built into the plan to still get me to Martha’s Vineyard on time.

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Sailing to Martha’s Vineyard: Float Plan

I have been planning a trip for about a year now. I’m going to sail my little Seafarer (departing, hopefully, this Friday) to Martha’s Vineyard for a shindig over Father’s Day Weekend. I may have hinted at it in some previous posts; but now it looks like I’m actually going to get everything (or at least the important things) done. I need to run to the marina; but in the meantime, in order to keep those in the know, in the know, here is the planning I have done. Bear in mind that a wide range of events could cause an alteration to these plans. I have a new SPOT Connect by Spot that I will hopefully be able to use to send tracking information and float plan information to those who want to know. I’m going to try and link it to this blog, as well.

In any case, here is the float plan. I’ve got a pdf file as well.

Gotta run. Still lots of work to do…

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Preppin’ for the Vineyard

In the extremely short time of one week from today, I will, in theory, be setting off on a trip to Martha’s Vineyard. The route will take me from Middle River on the Chesapeake, up through the C&D canal, down the Delaware River and Delaware Bay, through the the Cape May canal to Cape May, and finally direct offshore from Cape May, NJ to Martha’s Vineyard. Theoretically. If I can get everything together in time. Fingers crossed.

The issue is that Godot (my Seafarer 24) is in need of some work. I’ve been feverishly working on getting my projects done in my frustratingly limited amount of free time. I’m getting close. LED nav lights are installed. My bow pulpit has been repaired. My mainsail is ready to be picked up. My replacement cockpit seat hatches are half built, and will hopefully be finished in a few easy evenings of work. My new anchor roller with my new Claw anchor is installed. My replacement fore-hatch is in need of paint; but otherwise pretty much ready to be bolted on. My replacement hatch-boards are done well enough. The projects should pretty much all be adequately ready to go by next Friday, mostly just needing paint to be finished. I can wait on the paint until I get back, I think.

Unfortunately, I still have one MAJOR problem. The stupid outboard motor won’t start. I hate motors. Hate them. But they are a necessary evil for getting in/out of marinas, and through various harbor entrances. I suppose I might be able to deal without having a motor for those times, although as a single hander now-a-days, it does make things rather tricky. But the one thing I absolutely can not do without a motor is transit the C&D canal. It simply isn’t permitted. To go around Delmarva the long way is simply not practical with the amount of vacation time I have. The motor is make or break.

I’m working Saturday; but I have Sunday and Monday off. Sunday is motor day. Here’s hoping I can figure out what the stupid beast is up to.

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Chesapeake Sailing, Sept 2011

I just made it back from a nice little hike out on a nice little trail in Atlanta. Gotta get my training in where I can, after all. In any case, I was on the trail so naturally I was thinking about…sailing. Funny the way the mind works. It did occur to me that I never wrote up my two week little cruise from last September. Well, it’s too late now for any hope of an accurate write up; but I can throw some pictures up from the trip. The whole album is here, including a lot of so so photos, a bunch of which are geotagged if you are interested in checking them out on a map. The chronological order seemed to get screwed up. Below is a nice little selection…

My homebuilt Apple Pie Dinghy tows well

Penny The Cat Enjoying the evening after a long day’s sail

Tied up in Annapolis

Penny The Cat trying to find anyplace she can to grab a nap

The dinghy tows well

Debris from Hurricane Irene

Sailing Wing and Wing with my boat hook rigged up as a

poor man’s whisker pole

The Oxford Inn’s Pope’s Mobile

Anchored in Spa Creek Annapolis

Nicole keeping fit by hula hooping on a Bristol 27. Travis

and Nicole were on their way to the Dominican Republic.

Ego Alley early morning

The bridge I had to negotiate to get to my anchorage on

Spa Creek

You try telling a cat to not be wandering the deck while

under sail. Good luck.

There was a fair amount of shipping

Ashley aboard the Flicka “Sweet Pea”

Flicka “Sweet Pea”

At anchor in Dunn Cove


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Hawaii or bust?

I hate to make detailed plans about the Big Adventure too far in advance.  Far too many things could derail or detour the grand plans, and it just seems a little smarter to keep things simple until I know for certain what kind of circumstances I’ll be leaving with (meaning money, the condition of the boat, my health, world political issues, the zombie apocalypse, the worlds rotation suddenly reversing because of those pesky Mayan calendar makers, whatever).


I had just had a thought. Every even numbered years the San Francisco Single Handed Sailing Society runs the Single Handed TransPac race, San Francisco to Hawaii. If I were to leave on the sailing portion of the Big Adventure at the end of 2014, I could spend a year and a half cruising to the Caribbean, through the Panama Canal, and north up the west coast of the Americas and could, maybe, make the late June start date of the 2016 race? Maybe?

OK, I’m probably stretching a bit here; but I’m allowed to dream. And, well, you never know…

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Joshua Slocum

Been busy at work. Real busy. With all the beautiful weather we’ve been having, it seems that most of my days off are gray. Or I’ve worked overnight and need to sleep half the day away. The boat sits neglected, my housekeeping declines, and it is easy to enter a funk. But the Big Adventure plan still gnaws at me. In the meantime, I did find a very good documentary on Joshua Slocum on Youtube. If you’re the kind of person who knows who he is, it is worth a look.

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Planning the Big Adventure

For what it is worth, the New Years Resolutions, for once, remain intact. All three. Remarkable.

Plans continue. Financially, it looks like I should hit broke in the next couple of weeks. That is a great improvement over the deep financial hole where I’ve been living the past couple of years (I swear I could see the fires of hell from the pit I was in). The price to get here has been high; but I think the freedom purchased is worth it. There is a possibility that I will be significantly better off than broke. Maybe. Time will tell. Regardless, savings have now commenced for the Big Adventure.

I’ve made a written, and doable, plan to achieve the financial means to get out adventuring. Basically, I intend to save 1/3 (more or less) of my net income over the next two years. With the retirement of my existing debt (if everything goes right), this is quite reasonable. By generating a written plan and a spreadsheet to track progress I now have accountability. Confidence is high.

A recap of the Big Adventure…

March 2014 it begins. I will take the big scary step of quiting my job (very, very scary. Terrifying even. I shudder to think about it.). THEN I will progress Northbound (I considered southbound; but the calendar suggests that NB works better for me…this could be revisited) from Springer Mountain in Georgia on a thru hike of the Appalachian Trail. Hopefully I will hit Katahdin before October. Timing matters as I’d like to depart the Chesapeake for the Caribbean, quite possibly via Bermuda, in November. November is a key month as it is right after the most active part of a typical hurricane season (officially ending on November 30th each year) and before the winter storms start moving in. If things don’t look terribly promising weather wise for an offshore passage, there is always the possibility of traveling down the Intracoastal Waterway.

Regardless, once I’m away under sail, I intend to go out exploring for two to three years. Or as long as finances hold out. How far will I travel? Who knows. I may bum around the Caribbean for the whole time. Or I might circumnavigate the globe. Granted, the former is far more likely than the latter; but the dream of going all the way around hasn’t quite died yet. Time will tell.

It is still a big question on whether or not I will be keeping my Seafarer 24 or upgrading to something a bit more substantial. Given that I am likely going to be living aboard whatever boat I own for a year or more (a good way to cut expenses) I’d like to have a little more room than my little boat will allow. But money matters. I do not want to sacrifice my start date for the benefit of a few more feet of length. We’ll have to see how money works out. The Seafarer is adequate, really, for the adventure, although I doubt I’d attempt any serious open water passages with it (Chesapeake to Bermuda to Caribbean is probably OK…weather and nerves permitting).

The plan is now public. It’s still subject to minor revisions; but barring personal disaster (or worse, another marriage ~shudder~) I feel fairly comfortable with its’ achievability. I’m going to make it happen!

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Updated Considerations for the next sailboat

Blogs (or any journal/diary) can be like a time machine, taking a person back months or years. It can be real interesting looking at plans and such from a couple of years ago and match them up to reality. It can also be a shock to the system.

It’s been almost two years since I wrote Considerations for the next sailboat, and I’m a bit shocked and dismayed at how miserably I’ve missed my stated goals. All of them. Badly. Lots of things got in the way: divorce, economy, real estate market, etc… but I really thought I’d be further along rather than essentially in the same place. Well, the old plan didn’t work and a new (equally painful; but faster) plan is now in place. I have rethought some things.

First, I’m not so sure I’m going to be replacing my Seafarer 24 Godot (though I’m still thinking of renaming her). She’s small, cramped, a little homely looking. But she’s also paid off. I really would like to be taking off in a couple of years, and any money I spend on a new boat just delays further that trip.

That said, a new (to me) boat is still a possibility, especially given the current buyers market. My criteria has changed, though.

  • My desired length has shrunk… Figure 27-30′. This puts me back in sailfar territory, a place I probably belong.
  • Light air performance and shoal (under 5′ in this case) draft is still important as is reasonable seaworthiness.
  • Purchase price plus simple outfitting under $12,000 is desirable. Way under even better. I’ve read lots of promising advertisements; but I’m not sure what the reality is. If it costs much more than this, then I’d be better off staying with my current little boat. I do not want to delay departure too long paying for the damn thing!
  • Heat still matters. If I have to deal with a small electric space heater in the winter, I’ll deal with a small electric space heater. Electric heat ties me to the dock, of course; but when I’m ready to go I expect to be using the Latitude heater. That is, moving south. Fast.
  • Chart table? Bah. Who needs it.
  • Gimbaled stove? Oven? Whatever the boat has will be fine. I’ll use a small backpacking stove if I need to. Not a priority.
  • Screw the shower. I’ll shore-side it, sponge bath it, solar shower it, or figure something else out. Not a consideration.
  • A wet locker near the companionway would still be nice. Real nice. I don’t expect to find one on this size boat, though. Screw it. I’ll deal.
  • An enclosed head is necessary on a new boat. If I don’t get this little piece of comfort, there really is no point in changing from Godot. I’ll deal with what ever head system is installed. Or I’ll put in a composting toilet.
  • I still don’t care about electronics. They are nice, but I will happily buy a cheap handheld GPS and VHF if I need to. I still need 110v AC for running a heater, the laptop, and charging the batteries. I can handle installing that, though.
  • A dodger is probably the single biggest improvement I could make to any boat (either my current seafarer, or a theoretical future sailboat) for comfort. It’s on the list.
  • If I have to sleep in the main cabin, I’ll sleep in the main cabin. I no longer care if I have a separate sleeping compartment. I no longer care if there is a double bunk. I no longer care if there is a dinette.

Well, my selection criteria just got a LOT simpler. Shallow draft. Reasonable seaworthiness. An enclosed head. Cheap. Dodger. Surely I can find something that meets those needs. If not, I’ll go with what I have. Who needs the other junk.

Current favorites:

  • Bristol 27
  • Several of the 26-30′ Cals
  • Tartan 28

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