Sooty- Earl Craig

Dale Benham recently finished his Sooty Tern in, of all places, Nebraska. Somehow the local TV station got “wind” of his doings. Pretty cool. Notice how easily the boat moves with hardly a breath of air. Congrats Dale!

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My Buddy Huckleberry

As the season closes, Huck and I stole a brief sail across Mobjack Bay and back yesterday. Believing he is still a lap dog, he made for a nice heater as we pushed to weather.

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We’re still assessing the new sails. The stainless steel slides are not right for bronze or naval brass T track. They still snag slightly when raising and lowering. Either I need to file round edges on each slide or replace them with naval brass, if those can be found. Such is the challenge of ordering sails at a distance. Add it to the winter projects.

At 10:30 wind fluctuated between 5 mph or less. LUNA still moved along. Maybe the bottom isn’t as slimy as I thought.

By noon the breeze built to 12-15 and we really chunked along.

Short and sweet.

Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival 2016

For me, a 4 hour drive is a long haul to go sailing with Mobjack only 1 1/2 hours away. However, MASCF is an exception. Almost 100 small boat enthusiasts, many with crew, bring their respective craft to enjoy friends new and old, savor some seafood and get in a bit of boating. Last year’s event was washed out by hurricane threats. This year was just our second attendance in what was the 33rd running. Friday and Saturday were wet and windy. Sunday, still overcast, offered barely a whisper. Regardless, the time in Saint Michaels was fun. My youngest son and I took kayaks we built and left UNA behind. She was missed, but we got rides from our pal Dale to watch Saturday’s race in his Ben Garvey outboard. With an almost 7′ beam, he can set up a tent  in the boat’s floor and still have room to keep his skin-on-frame kayaks aboard. Complimented with a 40hp four-stroke and a folding bimini top, Dale may have found another attractive access to the water.

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Dale at the helm

Later in the day we paddled around the harbor to take in the sights. This town has been a regular stopping point over many years of cruising the Bay. The visit never grows old. Though the boutique shops seem to be taking over the main drag, pockets of childhood memories still survive. This is in no small part due to the Maritime Museum there. Now that I have been to Mystic, I can say it reminds me of that fine museum on a smaller scale. In this quaintness, St. Michaels is more approachable. At this festival, one can wander amongst the current builds and renovations. You are welcomed to nose around and we did.

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Ducker Preparations

In order to proceed with the Ducker hull, I need more room in the garage. So, last month I added a small addition to the backyard shed we built 10 years ago. All of our gasoline equipment, tools, cans, etc. are now housed there. I wagged an estimate of $650 in materials to complete the space. It ended up more like $800. That’s $14.25 a SF. If you threw in my free labor in there I guess you could triple the cost. The worst of the project required digging 2 holes for the outboard post footings. Nothing but hard clay and rock (lots of rocks). Thankfully I had my 18 yr old son and his buddy to sweat the digging with me.

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The low slope roof just sneaks under the existing gable window. 30# felts are under the shingles. The Hardi Plank siding was nasty to cut with circular saw or jig. Finally, I discovered that 3 scores with a utility knife on both sides allowed for a clean enough break without all the dust. Some policing of the adjoining grade still needs to be done. Also, the soffit vents are still missing, but we can move on now.

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In the interim, LUNA’s hatch has been repaired, again, and both the boat hook and bilge pump handle have been stripped and varnished.

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Next up: can we make UNA a boat cover out of Emily’s 2 awnings? Solving that will allow UNA to stay outdoors temporarily while the Ducker hull takes shape. I may begin with the spars and other parts before that.

Mid-Atlantic Small Craft Festival

We’re just back from the Small Reach Regatta in Brooklin, Maine and still I’m ready for the next event. In terms of sailing, the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum in St. Michaels, MD hosts a great gathering of sailboats, rowboats, canoes, kayaks, etc. The event page has 2 double enders bookending the header photo. To the left is my UNA and to the right is Peter’s NIP. After last year’s cancellation due to hurricane threats, this year should be extra special. We are going.

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Persistent Sailors

The number of active sailboats on the Bay has been dwindling for years. Yet, countless marinas have neglected boats melting away as their encrusted hull grow closer to the bottom below. How many broken dreams lay tied to so many piers? Also, gone are the huge regattas I recall as a child where literally hundreds of dinghies would participate. Optis, Turnabouts, Moths, Windmills, Skipjacks, Thistles, 5-O-5’s, Hamptons, etc. all showed up on the big weekends. It was great sport and the post race festivities were something to enjoy, if not sit back and observe. Why the numbers have declined, I don’t know really. I blame the “virtual reality” of TV and it’s effectual inducement of mental laziness. Correct me if you will, but where has people’s sense of adventure gone? The spirit of entertainment and immediate gratification is killing genuine experience and outdoor adventure. I know, that’s another discussion. We’ll leave it for now.

Through sailing UNA, I have found a small group who are passionate about just sailing. Many don’t care to race or compete at all. That’s OK. Their love for messing about in boats is the treasure. I value their friendships immensely. And now that our big boat has found a new owner, we’re looking to do more varied and frequent sailing.

Accordingly, yesterday, after meeting a canvas maker, my daughter and I took a short sail in Mobjack with LUNA. Winds were light and varied from NNE at 4-6 mph. We reached across Mobjack and west into the mouth of North River where we met some of the most dedicated sailors in out little marina. Barbara, Ayars and their Cape Dory 30 “Dory” day sail their nice boat almost every week during the season. Now that we have the Rozinante, I expect we’ll be crossing paths more frequently.

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ghosting under Dory

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ghosting under Dory
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Afars, Lina and Barbara (credit: Declan)

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