Art by Bowman

Almost 2 years ago a crew of us sailed in Belhaven, NC waters. I noticed Curt and Mike were sketching at a small distance while the rest of us either lunched, napped or both. It was warm in the lee of the pines ringing the shore. Today I get this:two-mizzens“Two Mizzens” of UNA and NIP resting at the beach. Nice work. Thank you Curt!

Lugger? Bugger!

There is nothing like self imposed distractions. Winter has a habit of forcing more of them upon me. Is it a restlessness? Perhaps. If so, it seems to have set in early this year.

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While motoring LUNA around to the boatyard a few weeks ago, I thought it preferable not to undertake all I was about to go through: the down rigging, packing the trailer, rechecking  that, hauling the boat some 80 miles and then providing cover for the cold season (forget the hassles of a flat trailer tire, old tarps, etc.). Such was my mindset when someone suggested looking again at Paul Gartside’s Design #166: the 6 Metre Centerboard Lugger (above). Shouldn’t have done that. Firstly, Gartside can’t draw ugly lines. His catalog demonstrates that. Secondly, this pretty trailer sailer was all it took to get me dreaming of extended cruises along distant coasts. No offense is intended towards UNA, but this other lugger appeals in many ways also. Some quite differently. A couple days on and LUNA was home under wraps. I paused. The bug struck again. Attempting to be rational about it all, I began a list outlining the pro’s and con’s of not just this design, but several others. A quick spreadsheet of the contenders considered size constraints, construction limits, sail area to displacement ratios and naturally that question, “Is she fast?” Further on, an inordinate amount of time was spent perusing  WoodenBoat Forum and the myriad of suggestions and opinions. Some were valued. To justify my growing library of design books I flipped back through volumes by the likes of Chapelle, Oughtred, Culler, Gardner, etc. Another few days passed. So many beautiful small boats with history. However, undaunted, this little lugger kept popping to the surface.

I had to do something. You’d guess enlisting “moral” support from fellow sailors isn’t helpful (boy, was that putting gas on the fire!). Right, no firehoses were offered. Any critiques were mere droplets, and only objections to small details or did I even hear them?

I ordered study plans from Gartside and crafted a half hull model at 1″ to the foot.

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I find the study process enjoyable. Maybe that is part of the forever search of the “next” boat. From selecting wood, cutting lifts, laminating, planing, carving, sanding, and finishing, each stage allows meditation. What is the damage anyway?  If you choose a nice boat, at worst,  you’ve some wall art. Yea, but does it end there?

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But what about the Ducker?! I know. I know. She’s not forgotten. Her molds are still hanging ready to be used in the shed.

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But then, what have I done? I should have just finished putting the leather ties on the F-1 and stayed out of bigger trouble.

Why has it so far been painless? That’s good, right?  … or is it?

Merry Christmas

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LUNA is not quite under the tree, but close enough. Over the next few months some of the projects on the “list” can be completed. And, as she waits on me, she’ll warm my heart with the promise of that first Spring cruise. Can’t wait.

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Getting her home was no small effort. Before yesterday’s sunrise, my middle son and I left for the marina, had a cold motor trip around to the boatyard (no wind), spent 3-4 hours removing the masts, hauling the boat, and tidying up the equipment for travel.  12 hours later we found ourselves back home, but unable to move LUNA from the bottom of our gravel drive onto the concrete apron beside the house. Apparently a Ford F150 has only so much umps to haul uphill. After several attempts and digging too much gravel, we called it quits for the day. This morning a trip to Enterprise returned with a real truck. Make that a Ford F350 dually diesel. That beast in 4 wheel low yanked our boat up the drive like a wet rag. Amazing.

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The Home Owners Association is specific about not keeping boats in yards. So far, no calls. In my opinion, her beauty adds to the neighborhood. God knows there are enough ugly house additions around. Besides, she’s really just visiting and … its Christmas. Hope yours is a blessed one.

 

 

 

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.

Steampunk Sailor

Yesterday, my daughter and I took a short, brisk sail with LUNA up the East River, stopping by “Ed’s Cove” on the return for lunch on the hook. The menu offered hot tomato soup, ham wraps, beer and sunshine in a protected cockpit. No one else was around. No one. Granted it was mid-week, but too many boat owners put their craft away after Labor Day here. So many wonderful days are missed. You can have July and August in my book. From September up until Christmas frequently is truly the best sailing time of the year. The water’s summer heating holds its inertia well into November. Yesterday was beautiful … ah, so is today.

Here’s one of my favorite sailors working out music for the picnic.

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