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 …
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.
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.
Life demands responsibility. We all make mistakes, but how responsible are we for those others make? Sadly, too many won’t take any ownership of the problems they’ve wrought in their own lives. It is an overwhelming problem in our land and to foment this discontent is criminal.
Like many, I’ve had enough of the corrupt “news” reports of left wing “peaceful protests”. Hate and destruction are never a recipe for heeling. The stories are practically unavoidable. You can forget who you are. So, I sought some peace on the water where no one is leering at you for not wearing a mask. Where you’re free to go where the wind takes you. A nice sail has always been restorative, rejuvenating and recuperative.
Though Chickadees’s projects are ongoing, it was time to sail her home from the yard after fixing the centerboard, painting the bottom and mending a few deck leaks. A light breeze pulled us out into North River as several porpoise raced in our wake. Beautiful creatures. Otherwise, it was just me and my Huckleberry pushing to weather. I longed to continue on up the Bay on some grand adventure removed from so much insanity. Soon I hope.
Small boats are generally simpler boats, and, simpler boats are easier to use. An unused boat will suffer from neglect. Though new to us, little Camille was built in 1958 and found recently languishing in a shed. Over the past year she has given us some wonderful sails and warrants more attention. We’ve begun to cross off a number of her “to do” items. Improvements this week were: main sheet, peak and throat halyards are now new spun polyester, soft to the hand and supple. The old lines will serve as dock lines for C. I like to think they are souvenirs from her decades of sailing.
Bright sail ties dress up and hold a furl in the main. Looping the main sheet around the package was awkward and probably harder on the old sail. A discarded bronze traveler from Peter at Howard Boats replaces what was a rope traveler secured with two deck eyes.
With a new masthead fly, Camille is ready for more memories.
Here is a short video as she cut along a string of a dozen crab pots. It was a very hot day. Think we’ll favor cooler evening sails for the next several weeks instead.
Finally took Chick back out over the past few days. Diving revealed she had little growth, but a scrubbing removed some scum and let her slip along even better still. The water was a perfect temp. Did some reading and napped in the shade of the cockpit afterwards. As the days heat up, late afternoon sails have been delightful too. Look here:
Sailed all through the grey weekend and then the sun came out finally Monday afternoon. This short video clip shows the sensation of “speed” in a little boat when your tailbone is riding at the waterline. Getting to know this boat has been fun.
Took a break to sail a wonderfully well-behaved little boat, Camille, a little fatty who’s grace holds no surprises. On her clothesline mooring now, she waits for this weekend’s fun and the weather looks obliging.
Made a short video playing with the phone’s iMovie app. Upon seeing a partial clip, my buddy Jay says, “Dogs really do like cats!”
Our Tartan 27 has already proven to be a capable little vessel. The small sturdy bird commonly referred to as a “Chickadee” seemed an appropriate name for our tiny ship. Additionally, my momma used to call her 4 babies “chickadees”. So, yesterday we made it official.
Afterwards we took a short sail upriver and back.
In studying the sail plan, I realized the shrouds were backwards. Added to that, the spreaders were sagging as their support rod going through the mast was upside down. 2 of my sons cranked me up the mast to fix the latter. The fix required disconnecting the various shrouds while suspended and healing the boat to counteract the loose rigging.
Chickadee’s rigging is happy now. It’s not drooping and is properly tensioned. Her main sheet is new. The other was half the needed length! (That escaped my notice in surveying.) The Cubic Mini stove install is nearing completion. So, we’re making small improvements while keeping her working. Very satisfied with the boat! More later.