Mending a Break

Some trips are not so kind to UNA. No sooner had we left the pier at Smith Mountain Lake when the motor faltered. Sail and oar you say? To stay off the lee shore we hurriedly dropped the anchor, and, so too the tiller. That quickly swept aft to jam between the rudder and stem. In horsing the stick loose, I cracked the tiller arm in good fashion. Choice words were spoken … several times. Twine and duct tape managed a temporary repair to sail the next day.

Once home, the fix involved removing the bronze joint bushing, replacing bad wood with a solid piece of cherry, inserting bamboo dowels and gluing it all with epoxy. That likely would have sufficed, but I added several windings of tarred twine as a safeguard. The crack had gone almost 12” up the arm.

Our next task? Devising an easy way to remove the floor boards so that the bilges can be cleaned readily and those frequently lost items can be found.

Tiller and arm reconnected.

Snow is on the ground, but Spring will be here … hopefully soon.

UNA in Small Boats Monthly

I forgot about this write up in Small Boats Monthly. I do remember the wonderful photos my daughter took on our first (and only) joint overnighter in the bilges of UNA in Milford Haven. We’ve migrated to onshore camping when there’s crew. Long lumpy night that was behind windy barrier dunes. A reminder of the short article came in the form of an email from SBM. My friend and Owner of Molly pointed it out. The excitement of launching UNA that year is still vivid. Much else of 2014 is faded. The 10-month construction period has rewarded this builder with many more months of sailing and memories to boot. Winter will be easier now knowing that UNA will carry us along again this Spring. In the meantime, perhaps we can give her some love and fix a few neglected maintenance items. She asks for so little.

The Fleeton Gaggle

Zephyr, Molly and Mabu (all Caledonia Yawls) joined UNA for a 2 night cruise around creeks in Ingram Bay. Weather was mostly clear, winds variable and temps moderate. Delightful really. In fact, swimming was dare near perfect. “Racing” gave a good challenge.

The crew all took photos. Made for a fun mix of perspectives. Footage here:

Grey Is A Color

Mid August sailing in Maine can be trying, or at times, non-existent. UNA, Molly and Little T put in at Rockland to visit Hurricane Sound, The Basin, Carver Harbor, Seal Bay, North Haven, Perry Cove and Pulpit Harbor to return to Rockland for the long ride home. There were a couple sunny days on either end, but the predominant “color” was grey, a perfect background allowing some sublime reflection. With each visit to this coast the outside world seems to have leaked in. However, those quiet and raw pockets still exist. I think we found a few.

Seal Bay

Travelling by small boat frequently invites curiosity. Private space and time no longer are yours. Is it lunacy to sleep a week in the floor of a 19′ boat? Perhaps. You’d think that would ward off inspection.

“Are you guys Outward Bound?” If so, no one seems willing to come along.

“Oh, yeah, I had a little 8′ dinghy I’d row about.” Sorry, not the same thing.

“What kind of boat is that?” I never understand that question. Are you asking generically? Sailboat. Type? Balanced lug yawl. Design? Sooty Tern. What’s that? A seabird. Comical at times and yet the interest somehow validates the decisions to make the trip.

I won’t bore with too many details of the trip. The winds were light at best. The friendship was great. And, all those greys … beautiful.

Ah … Isobel

Another beauty

UNA and this blog have connected me with people I’d otherwise likely never have met. Many are now friends. Several even dear pals. My buddy Kirk comes to mind. It was good catching up over a long overdue lunch last week.

Another fellow, Terry, began email correspondence several years ago. We even talked on the phone back when he was building Isobel, a lovely sister ship to UNA. We’ve yet to actually meet in person. Hopefully our boats will cross paths soon. Currently a 6 hour drive separates us, but what is that among friends?

Yesterday, at my request, Terry shared a few photos of his boat with permission to feature her here. Take a look.

Excellent work. UNA and Isobel must meet this Spring. I’d like to be there too. Thanks Terry!

Isobel and her justly proud owner

Water and Color

Just got a text with this fine painting from Mabu’s skipper, Harris. He and his Caledonia were anchored just to windward of UNA that colorful evening on Yarmouth Creek two weeks ago. Seems like ages now. I can hear the slap of the water, cries of the geese …

Somehow the cold is gone.

Thanks Harris!

UNA, Mabu, Molly and the Chick

Sub freezing temps and small craft warnings make neither a good nor wise cruise. Earlier forecasts were off a day. Our planned three day sail shrank to two. Five boats were to gather. Weather pared the group to three. Still, it the sailing was spectacular. The higher winds had dropped to a gentle breeze. The winter light became brilliant. The night would drop back to freezing, but the crazies wore on. That’s two Caledonia yawls, Mabu and Molly, and one Sooty Tern, UNA. We awoke to frost on cars and boats. By mid morning we were sailing off the wind from Governors Land on the James River for an 8 miles up the Chickahominy River. Our trio slid past banks of cypress trees and glided into the watercolor marshes of Yarmouth Creek. Drinks and yarns accompanied our late afternoon anchorage. Tents, sleeping bags, long johns and wool caps tucked all in shortly after sunset. A good book was the evening’s entertainment.

Daybreak offered little air. We motored back down the Yarmouth, took a cut called Shipyard Creek to meet the Chick again. There we raised sail and had a great beat home. Una was in her element.

It was a fantastic couple of days with fine buddies. Hopefully its not the last sail in what has been such a fraudulent year. If so, perhaps this video will stretch us to Spring.

East to the Severn

Monday was “breezy” with small craft warnings. However, Tuesday and Wednesday were as perfect as perfect can be. Winds started at 8-12 mph from the NW moving to the W the following day. Air was crisp, evenings cool and skies blue. The attending boat count got whittled down to two, but that offered some spirited “racing” both days. It was Caledonia vs Sooty Tern and the leads changed hands enough to make both parties happy.

Enjoyed it Bob!

Trip video