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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Eagles and skiffs

November 16, 2016.  A mid week sail.
Today the skiff and an eagle were both flying on the river!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

A storm is brewing

Dark clouds now hover above, the rain has begun
All one can do is put a reef in the sails, batten down hatches
stow and secure what can be stowed and secured
take bearings, be as sure as possible of the course you want to sail
out on the sea the integrity of the boat is all that matters
the sea will find all of it's faults, all of the weakness,
not only of the boat but also of the crew

Just because you stand on the shore doesn't mean you are safe from the rising water
or the howling destructive winds

The land is just something granted to us by the sea
for a time
Water rules the world and the wind makes it all move and change

The river is rising and I'm stuck down low

Monday, November 7, 2016

Wind Surfers

Wind Surfing just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge Construction on a blustery day

Yesterday, while going out for a "sail" in my land yacht,  we stopped by the river side to look at the water, which was full of white caps with a strong north wind.  Out on the water I could see these small sails, one white, one yellow, one bright red, all vibrant in the bright but low angle autumn light.  They were zipping around like fireflies.
It was a fun sight and we sat in the van with the big door open drinking our coffee and eating our pastries, and looking thru the binoculars at the surfers.
I wonder if I am too old and to weak to be able to do such a thing anymore.  I wonder if I would enjoy it.  A board and sail rig is just about the right size for something to carry atop my under powered little vanagon.  I have been struggling for coming up with some kind of craft that sails, to carry on the van, but weight is indeed a real issue.
Maybe a wind surfer.  I'd need the wet suit to go with it........This doesn't sound inexpensive.  The truth is I prefer to be in a boat than in the water and I don't think that wind surfing is the best way to achieve this.  But it does look really, really fun.
I am really getting enthused about the sharpie hull design.  I really love the videos on YouTube from this one sailor in particular. I usually tire of these kind of videos, locked off camera, boat sailing......ya, ya ya.  It's usually boring, but these videos impress me with the ability of the boat, and it's simplicity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0xA3V2fcG8

Some of the things about the sharpies that make them work, are also the things that I find challenging.  They are a bit skinny of beam, which makes for a real feeling of being cramped.  Along with this the topsides are usually not very high so any kind of cabin would seem like a coffin inside.  I am hoping to achieve a compromise of something that is just enough to make me feel good about being in a little cabin, or at least under a little cuddy.  As is often the case with compromise, it leads to a boat that does nothing well.  This, I hope to avoid.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

First November sail this year

On the second day of November with temperatures in the mid sixties, we get a lovely sail.  The wind was lighter than it seemed, or something was different.  Couldn't get to windward very well with the light air in such messy, sloppy water.  I did power sail though, rowing with the rig drawing and that worked really well.
I sailed into a marina to see a fellow sailor before he leaves for warmer latitudes for the winter.  His boat looked great, and ready to go south.  While leaving the marina I was startled by what had to be a big fish, but at first thought it might be some kind of seal or something like.  The muddy brown color made me think it was a fish, but it had some girth to it when it surfaced, kind of like a seal does.  Who knows what lurks in that muddy river.
More fish were jumping during the rest of the sail too.
I had to row up the marsh to get back to the launch site and was very pleased to be reminded of how easily this boat rows.  I must remember to make rowing a priority on the next boat.
sailed into a marina and right up to a cleat in a slip while I got out and talked with a friend.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Matthew Neinow, poet, boat builder,,,,,

I post this with no permission to do so, I'd just like others to know of this beautiful work, this inspiring man.  He builds boat, and some amazing paddle boards, each a poem in of it's own and with the potential to give one the experience necessary to live a poem or adventure tale.

http://www.matthewnienow.com/poems-and-films/


It's the Boat That Haunts You

And so it is, the boat has come to own you,
has learned to speak a language you cannot help
but agree with, its voice the dark lapping
of water against the hull, its song the wind

in the stays while you sleep, dreaming of a bowsprit
to hold you against the waves, and the boat

curls golden bracelets of cedar
around your wrists as you plane each

plank, its touch the dream of a body becoming
whole—to make the shape, to be shaped—and the boat

says please, says the honed edge
against clear grain is my small prayer to your devotion.

May you forget your life, may you
always be close.


First appeared in New England Review and also appears in House of Water (Alice James Books, 2016)

Look him up!!!!!  buy a book!

http://www.matthewnienow.com/

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Rewind----64'f good SSW winds

The day before yesterday was snow, sleet, rain and today I'm overdressed for a nice sail in the afternoon.  64'f and a strong breeze from the south and west, with some gusts that send us planing when we are running down wind, well almost.
Today I launched from a different place.  The Haverstraw Bay park's ramp is open year round, free for kayaks, canoes and row boats, and the skiff qualifies.  It's a really easy place to launch from and really the only place that I can launch for free, no matter the state of the tide.
Today was also the first time using the new, longer push-pull tiller.  It works great!  Very comfortable to use from midships facing forward.  Mission accomplished.
We had some "rollers" today, large long waves, about 3-4 from trough to top.  It's so much fun in a boat that sits so low in the water.
We sailed from the dock on departure and back up to the dock on the return.  Wasn't sure we'd make it with out using the oars, but we did.  The oar blades stayed dry today, but the handles got a little bit damp when a wave came up over the windward side and into the boat, and on me.  The water is cool but the day was so warm that it just seemed fun.  With the tiller I am better able to steer the boat over the short chop and eliminate a good bit of the pounding that the flat hull might do otherwise.
Today while sailing I remembered something I had just read about the hard chined sharpie hull.  In shallow water the hard chine can dig in and work as a bit of a keel and allow for a bit of sailing to windward with the board up.  I think that for this kind of sailing that I want to do this makes up a lot for the tendency for the flat bottom to pound.
when I came back to the dock a guy was watching me land and haul out the boat.  He eventually came up and asked if WHISP was a homemade boat.  He said it looked it.  I don't know if that is meant to be a criticism but I don't take it to be because as I was sailing today I sailed close to a 30 something foot long boat with the big dark sails, mylar or carbon fiber, or something.  We were sailing in the same water.  I'm sure I was having just as much fun as they were on that big boat but I'd wager that the sails on that boat alone cost more than all of the boats I own, or ever have, and yet there they were sailing in the same water using the same wind, but my home built boat cost less than the sailing jacket any one of the crew was wearing!  In my mind, I win.
Today was a bonus day for my micro season this 2016, but I think I've sailed more days than many who had their boats in the water since early Spring.  Again, I win.
I look forward to next months anomaly day and hope that the wind and tide and fortune will let me back out on the water.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Rain, sleet and snow

Many years ago on an Icy river


First snow/sleet/rain of the season today.  It's cold, wet and raw outside, perfect weather for sailing in the mind by reading a book, working on boat design, watching sailing vids or updating the blog.  This morning I watched this video:    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ER2Ksa8uHpA

It's an older entry from Dylan Winter on his Keep Turning Left sailing blog.  He really does lovely work making these pieces and I'm considering purchasing the DVD versions of them, even though I don't really buy such things, and can't really afford the luxury
In this piece he shows some of the older SHARPIES that are club raced in the area he is cruising in and states all of the positives of the type.  Coincidentally these are all the reasons that I am on about the current project, my 15 foot micro-cruising boat, which may be called the "CEDAR POND CRUISING SHARPIE" or the HUDSON RIVER MICRO-CRUISER,  we'll see
A funny thing about this Sharpie design idea is that a friend of mine mentioned the idea years ago, saying that he'd wanted to build one.  I didn't give it much consideration at the time since I was very intrigued by my deep keeled full displacement cruising yacht, but things have changed since then.

The idea of sailing a small boat that can be kept for cheap/free, and used in almost any body of water, well maybe not offshore, but then again, what I have easily available to me is a grand river that leads to the sea, but more importantly, is on it's own, a wonderful playground for a small adventuring boat that can be beached and make it's way up small tributaries and marshes, but with some accommodations for over night camping aboard in relative comfort.

I've been staring at Ruel Parker's book on sharpies "The Sharpie Book." The boat I want to build falls somewhere between and outside of the boats he describes in this book, but that is just as well as I seem to have such a hard time following another persons directions.  I think of it as the difference between following a path on land, which can be discerned by foot prints, tire tracks and such which will linger and can even tell you something about who and what came before, I prefer the sea going version of following others, for the wake closes up, fades away, moments after it has been made, leaving no sign that anybody has gone this way before, even if out on the horizon you can see the other ship, tiny, miniature in the distance, there is no real way of knowing that you are floating on the very same water that that ship was supported by, and in truth, it's highly likely that you are not.  This allows for a certain degree of freedom in the way one approaches his path, journey, ideas.  There is hardly a chance that my boat will be the very first of it's shape and size, but that isn't important.  What is important is that I am coming to it in a unique way, for what I bring to the moment is uniquely my own.

Great book on a great boat type