Catastrophe Averted

After loosing the main halyard up the mast weeks ago, the state of the varnish on the main mast troubled me. Last week I had the mast pulled, hauled the 34′ stick on my 19′ F-150 home, stripped the spreaders, added 2 coats of epoxy and finished with 3 coats of Brightsides paint. The mainsail track was removed and the entire mast given 3 fresh coats of Petit’s Z-Spar Flagship varnish. Last Friday I returned to the boatyard (name withheld for reasons soon to be clear), painted Luna’s bottom, wax ringed the opened seams, and reinstalled the mast the following day without event. However, the removal of the mast was nearly a literal bust. Thankfully many hands were available. This video was taken by a new friend, Tim, as held one of the control lines. It is the only record I have of the work. Wish I had taken a photo of the mast travelling contraption I used, perhaps next time. Hauling the long stick upwards of 70 mph for 75 miles took some consideration.

Anyway, many hands averted what could have been a tragedy. For the record, I had remarked that the block and tackle looked to be from Magellan’s Victoria. I was assured that there was at least one more lift in it. Little did I know how close to the truth I was.


Boy Boykin Bosun

Here in Virginia it seems late in the season, but we’ve had rain on top of rain for 1 1/2 months. Yesterday finally had clearing skies, so with both my youngest boy and my newest pup we went to unwrap Luna yesterday.

skipper, pup and newly varnished hatch.

Aside from being discouraged by the degradation of the varnish on the toe rail, all was going fine in removing the 3 tarps, the structure supporting them, and hanking on the sails. Fine that is, until I watched the main halyard run up the mast. Dumb! The marina  “experts” promptly suggested all kinds of retrieval methods from heeling the boat using the jib halyard, standing on an adjacent powerboat with boat hook to linking 3 boat hooks together and reaching high. Perhaps more pedantic, I decided to fashion a bosun’s chair and haul the youngest at 81 pounds with a boat hook with wire hanger taped to the end to snag the lost shackle. This would be a lesson in self reliance. However, he was not  too comfortable at spreader height (or confident in my grip?) so we brought him down. Surprised at how easily I could haul him up on the 2 part halyard, I decided to haul myself up with tailing assistance on the deck. Once above the spreaders and just below the jumper stay, I hauled the boat hook up the flag halyard and grabbed the prize. Back on deck I decided to make a legitimate chair. Here it is:

scrap 3/4″ plywood with bluenosed edges and 4 countersunk holes.
2 figure eight hoist points
continuous line run diagonally and lashed behind reef knots.

We’re not planning to lose the halyard again, but you never know … at least next time we’ll be ready and familiar with the drill.

Luna’s Half Hull

I enjoyed carving the Ducker model so much that I wanted to try another. This time of Luna. Here are pics of the early progress. In removing the last bit from the keel I accidentally buzzed off the tail end of the keel. This gave me the “opportunity” to add that corner back as a delineation of what would be the lead ballast per the lines drawing.

botched trailing keel corner and tick marks for fairing


added “ballast”


rudder added. cardboard stations beyond.


ready for hanging

I’m learning as I go. Too late for this one, but I just rediscovered an old Rudder Magazine article on model making by none other than L. Francis himself, I’d like to do one more. In his description I realized there may be a quicker way to remove the waste wood by not gluing the lifts, tracing the lower lift onto the above lift and separating the individual lifts to work on each separately. Once the majority of the waste wood is removed, the lifts can be rejoined and tuned for the final finish. Rewarding projects. What might be a next go?

Spring Outfitting

I’ve a trip planned for LUNA either late April or mid May. Duration, 7-10 days. Longer than any trip with her thus far, it will offer a good opportunity to see what she can do. I’d love to sneak up the Eastern Shore through Tangier Sound, through Hoopers Straight and around into the Choptank to visit Oxford, MD and then return down the western shore of the Bay.

To get ready there is a to do list:

  • varnish forward hatch and spars.
  • wash down the interior to kill any mildew.
  • wash both sets of sails.
  • rework the jiffy reefing.

The list may be short, but it represents a lot of time so, we have begun varnishing what we can do at home.

The hatch has been scraped, sanded and given 2 thinned coats so far. The old acrylic port was so checked, a new one wash made complete with stepped edge to match the recess in the hatch. This will be set in Dolphinite and clamped in place with bronze rings on both sides.

The 2 booms have had their hardware removed, have been sanded and a coat of full varnish applied.

To wash the sails, I want to hang a block in a backyard tree to hoist sails via halyard to scrub them.

The reefing set up will take some study and maybe a turning block on the main boom for ease of use.

All of this is more distraction that needed when life has already given enough lists, planned and otherwise. Nonetheless, we’re off and running. The days are getting warmer. Daylight increases. The dream is being stoked.

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A Long Winter’s Nap

It is official now. Luna is under wraps for the remaining winter. I bought 3 tarps, six 2×3’s and one 2×4 and headed to Mobjack with my big ball of string. The temps started in the teens and warmed to the mid 40’s. There was a good breeze with sun. Had the canvas not been removed, we would have gone sailing. After removing the booms, forward hatch and companionway doors, a sturdy framework was fashioned to support the tarps. Coverage was good save for the aft tarp which got sort of bunched. I’ll rework that one on my next visit.


Here are a couple pics of the cabinets and interior I’ve been fixing. Galley is to port with a single burner butane stove. Chart table is to starboard. Two drawers for the galley. One for the chart table.
Both have lift off counters made from a chestnut oak tree we dropped in our yard a couple years ago. The rest is mahogany. This greatly improves the old cabinets for storage and efficiency. I may write up more when that project is complete. Here are the counters tops. Fiddles are on 3 sides. there are storage bins all the way outboard.

With the boat pieces brought home, there will be plenty of varnish work to get a start on before late March for haul out. That will be here before we know it. Good. It is hard to visit Luna and not go. It is going to be a good year.

Beer, Gospel, and Sunsets

My dear little ship settled in the water Monday after an almost 2 year absence. Her time in the yard at Crown Pointe Marina in Gloucester, VA was a short 10 days from arrival. The yard manager Josh was very accommodating and service oriented. Refreshing. We shared a few beers, stories and tunes with the several watermen fixing their boats. Luna proved our ticket to this hard working, independent and all-a-round good people. With names like “Kenny Man” and “Rooster”, how could you go wrong? Ice cold Buds, country and gospel music fed our efforts.

a fresh bottom in the slings.

Luna’s seams were reefed, cotton caulked where it looked necessary and seam compounded to receive 2 coats of Petit’s Hydrocoat. This paint is water based and has been well reviewed. The designer’s father, the Wizard of Bristol, Nathaniel Greene Herreshoff was noted to have said, “There are only two colors to paint a boat – black or white. And only a fool would paint a boat black.” White she is with a midnight blue boot stripe and green bottom. It looks right, a classic Herreshoff color scheme.

swelling up

Luna settled right in with the other purpose built skiffs.  After a few hours of periodic bilge pumping and the early heat in the basin, we fired up the Seagull outboard and motored off the marina to anchor for a nice breeze and sunset. The boat came with a stainless steel folding anchor that I’m told was designed for seaplanes. It features opposing flukes and folding cross bars. The contraption buried well and held through the sustained 25-30 mph winds that brewed later that night. Sunset was accompanied by watermen tweaking their craft’s engines and a group of 3 adolescent local boys practicing their “colorful” language and flips off a nearby pier. A few belly flops and back crashes forced screams of pain to echo across the water. Perhaps it was punishment for their poor choice of words? It was all amusing.

a view from Perrin Creek to York River.



Perrin Creek surrounds.


work boats

The morning had started at 0500, the work was steady, dinner brief and sack time at 2130. I slept on a wool army blanket with a light sleeping bag. Without an automatic bilge pump, I woke a few times to pump the bilge. Once when the wind increased to veer 180 degrees and another time at 0300 as a waterman decided to test his engine. He needs a watch.

the galley and Top Ramen on the burner.

Morning began at 0600. The breeze was a fresh 10 kts from the SSW. Skied was scudded with dark clouds in the west. A bowl left in the cockpit showed about 1 1/2″ of water in it, so I wasn’t so sure how much pumping came from the sea and how much from the skies. A quick inspection showed no leaks in either the deck or chain plates. Nice to see.

Without a depth sounder or centerboard I was cautious about sailing out of this shallow creek at low tide. Still, having learned on UNA, we raised and flatten the mizzen, went forward to shorten the rode, raised the jib, and took the anchor aft. Gashing the hull with this menacing anchor was avoided, but seems inevitable in the future. I think I’ll look for another claw as they have served us well. The whole procedure was controlled and Luna very slowly drifted aft until we sheeted the jib and slipped to windward out along the waterman docks. Some fellow yelled across the harbor, “Nice boat!” We waved and grinned. With only jib and jigger, the Rozinante confidently tacked 3-4 times up the channel and out into the York. What looked to be the pilot schooner Virginia was resting along the Yorktown wharf beyond as Luna gathered speed in the building breeze (12-15 mph). The main hardly seemed necessary as we reached out to Swash Channel. I should have shipped the outboard as it was dragging partly in the lee. despite that we moved 6.5-7 kts across the bottom on a still outgoing tide.

Jibing on the other side of Swash, we rolled across Mobjack Bay into East River as winds built to 18 mph. I was really enjoying this little sea boat. Her tracking with a full keel amazed me. She darn near sails herself downwind!



The last bit of a sail always seems the sweetest and as Luna approached her new marina, this time was even more special. Everything I had read about this vessel was proving true. Her gentle motion, solid tracking, and quickness to power on delighted. The secure cockpit, handy controls and rushing water at arms length exhilarated. There is a short channel into our marina. We rounded up, flatten the mizzen again, went forward to drop the jib and set out dock lines. In perhaps 3 minutes time, the boat hardly dropped back a full boat length. What a lady.
With a single pull, the Seagull fired up and we crept into our new berth. What a morning. What a boat.