Monday, October 28, 2013

Solo sailing again

3rd time out in 3 weeks.  Single handing it today and though I have sailed this way the most, I have recently enjoyed the extra hands on board when I had them.  This boat is pretty easy to handle on my own but it's those things like dropping sail or raising them that is so much easier with somebody at the helm and somebody working the sails.

 Today I put seizing wire on the rigging turnbuckles.  I also brought a real anchor onboard today, with 15 feet of heavy chain and 100 feet of line for the rode.  So now there are 2 anchors on board.

The wind was up so after starting with full sail I decided to try sail with just the jib, since I don't have any reef points on the main sail.  This proved to be just fine.  An interesting thing about this boat is that the stern ends flush and in the water.  This creates quite a bit of "chuckle" from the wake, and I wonder about how this turbulence affects the speed of the boat.  As I understand it, this could be dragging or sucking down the stern of the boat in a way that a boat with a stern that is up out of the water would not.

It was a really nice sail and I shared a snack of muffins and an apple with the locals back at the slip.
My lunch mates today.
Excerpt from email to friend after my sail:
While I was sitting in the boat, after the sail I saw a guy meet up with a girl, walk down the dock to his 15 or 17 foot sloop that already had another girl on it, push it back out of the slip and then climb aboard and us his electric trolling motor auxiliary to slowly move out of the marina.  I really liked the boat, might have been a WWPotter, but it looked leaner, and I like the electric/cheap version of an auxiliary.  Also the guy gets points for, not only going out when everybody else was in, including me but I had just come back, but for having 2 girls on his boat as crew.  Stingy bastard!  Good on him.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fabulous Fall

It's gotten a bit chilly out, but not down right cold yet.  The wind is good, gusty and there most all the time.  Today was my first time just being aboard Ventura doing not much of anything except enjoying the day, and sorting thru systems.  You might ask why I wasn't sailing if the wind was so good and I'd say that I almost was, but I hurt my back a few days ago and I am trying to recuperate.  Being that I am still sorting thru the boat I don't want to be in a compromised state if something goes wrong.
She looks worse for wear, but she'll clean up.
I put the yellow sail cover on the main today.  I don't like that color but it is the one it came with.  I brought it back home and need to improve the fastening system it has.  The one on it is to clumsy and piece made of plastic are broken.  I will replace it all with brass snaps that feed thru a grommet and then twist to lock.  It's what I have on my Bristol and works well enough.
It is impressive to me just how run down this boat looks.  The paint that was put on top of the gelcoat is stained, chipped, cracked, peeling and the masking was poor so it's splattered in places it shouldn't be.  The black waterline stripe is actually tape and is hiding a red stripe underneath.  The hull looks to have been damaged forward of the chainplates on the starboard side and the repair job is cracked.  Maybe they used polyester resin instead of epoxy.  What ever they did the top coat is flaking off.  You can see a big chip or two in the picture.  From the inside the hull looks good so I am not very worried.  It is nothing that can't be addressed next summer.
There are two sets of navigation lights on the boat.  The originals are small and in the deck while the aftermarket red/green is on the bow pulpit.  I pulled most of the wiring back and will re install it, better and neater, eventually.  There is an anchor light on the mast (score) as well as a steaming light,(extra points).  All yet to be rewired.

The boat was apparently rigged for racing with all the fairleads and cam cleats and labels for each line and cleat.  The hardware was not installed well but it's all paid for!!  I will remove most of it and simplify the rig for cruising/day sailing.  I don't have a spinnaker or pole anyway.
A good washing would do alot.
Sitting down below and watching the clouds scud past, I couldn't help but think the little bleak cabin cozy.  I should say that I couldn't help but think that it could be cozy, but even as barren as it was, it kept the wind and the cold that was just outside the companionway from spoiling the fun.  With one boat cushion to pad my back from the sharp edge of the "galley counter" I could recline and watch and hear the ducks, the crackling flags, the clanging halyards, and all the comings and goings of the marina.  I don't think anybody much noticed me.  This is not a boat people notice, or stop to look over.  I do though.  I walked down the dock to take a picture with my camera, and one with my mind to imagine what she might look like when she has had the makeover that happens with time to anything that is cared for.  I think all my boats start to look like "my boats", just as anybodies boat tends to reflect the person who is custodian to it.
Not very inviting is it?  Still,
it has potential.
I find it will be a challenge not to start in on the work to improve her right away.  I told myself that I must sail her for a time and then if we are a good match, I can go forward with the energy needed and the direction chosen for what she is to become.
I brought onboard a 10 foot long oar for sculling.  I will have to use it as an oar on onside until I get some kind of sculling notch set up on the stern.  I now have 2 pfd's on board and I have chosen not to bring home the main sail for a reef installation, yet.  A friend reminded me of the used sail market and this model should have some old sails out there somewhere.  I might even be able to trade the Buccaneer sail that came with the boat.
I will build a little table that folds up on the port side as well as a tray for the galley that will fit into the hole in the deck.  It can be a storage place for galley stuff and maybe even serve as a sink or stove place with some creative thinking.  I think a sleeping bag and a pad will do for overnight accommodations and a few solar charged flashlight/lanterns for cabin light, but maybe just a candle.
Even though I didn't sail today I did have a very good boating day, as the saying goes, simply messing about on a boat.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

I'm in Ventura

I am in Ventura (good fortune).  After my second daysail aboard Ventura I believe I was lucky in finding her, and more so for such getting her at such a reasonable price.  As a friend said to me, "you bought a trailer and got a sailboat in the deal."  That was actually a good part of my own thinking when I made the deal.

One of my favorite cruising sailor friends stopped by here on his annual migration south, for a visit and a sail.  He travelled south from his Vermont home in the woods, to Florida, via kayak!  (The kayak, is strapped to the top of his Audi station wagon).  In Florida his cruising sailboat is waiting for him and he will transfer the kayak from the station wagon roof top, to the boat's side deck, and make his way thru the Bahamas, maybe even down to Bonaire over the next 5 or 6 months.

He was a former Venture 21 owner and it was fun to see him experiencing "De Ja Vu, all over again", as he puts it.  We had a very nice sail and it being my second time out on the boat, it was another step in the learning process of this particular boat.  A forecast for light air couldn't keep the wind from blowing a good force 3 or 4 out on the river.  We had a very nice time.  We put the stanchions on in the water when we failed to release the main sheet soon enough in a gust, but other than that it was beam reaches and catching up while just messing about on boats.

We marveled at how much plastic and finance was tied up in the marina, while we were out enjoying a beautiful fall day sail in a boat that cost less than some of the annual maintenance costs on the boats who's owners were, at that moment, in at a job trying to pay for them.  Ventura is rough looking right now, with green moss still on the decks from a year of sitting.  The paint and gel coat are faded and chipped.  The bottom is almost barren of anti fouling paint. The wood, all 4 pieces of it, is grey.  But she doesn't leak, and the rig is standing and she is a great little magic carpet for me.  There is room below for me to sleep, and eat and read, and even room for company.

After the second sail, I like her twice as much.  That is a good trend and even if the trend goes no further it is enough for me to know that finding this boat was fortunate (Ventura) for me.

My friend helped me to realize that the main sail the boat came with is actually from a Buccaneer.  It is old and without reef points and a bit under sized so a new sail my be in our future, should one come our way!  We set the smallest foresail which was the jib that was supposed to be set on the inner stay, on the forestay, as I don't have an inner stay rigged.  It turned out to be just about right for the weather conditions and our attitude for the day.

It is lovely and unusual to have a hand on board.  It does make the whole experience that much better, especially when it is a good friend, and especially when it is a good friend who knows the ropes!

Thanks for the visit Dean and fair winds to you.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Veggie Freighter

Veggie Freighter, Ceres

I just learned of a boating venture going on on the Hudson River.  It is a purpose built freighter of Vermont Vegetables and produce that is making it's way down river toward NYC, stopping and selling along the way.  It is actually an idea I had, in a way, a while back.  My idea was more of a waterborne farm produce stand.

I found this very interesting:
Vermont Sail Freight Project: Maiden Voyage on Vimeo

The one thing about this I don't really agree with is that I think food should be produced and consumed as locally as possible, thus giving all people "food security" by having each local of sustaining itself.  An idea like the food freight one is really just a stunt, self admitted from what I have read, but it does get people looking in the right direction and thinking about proper things.  On the negative side, Transporting food from Vermont to New York by sailboat is kind of at the beginning of the current problem, isn't it?  I like the idea of delivering fresh(?) food by sailing freighter, but it seems a bit contrived and that it could lead to us all getting most of our goods and food from overseas, thousands of miles away, instead of just growing it locally and thus making each locale more secure and independent.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013


Today I launched Ventura, my Macgregor Venture 21 trailer sailer.  It is the first day of winter storage at the local marina so, as is my nature, I am launching as everyone else is pulling their boats out for the season or thinking about doing so.
October 15 and the season begins.  First time in getting
this boat floating for me.  I bought it Oct. 9, one year ago!

After checking that the hull was sound, no leaks, we got the boat rigged and motored out into the river.  As always, the worries and stress seemed to go away a bit as I killed the outboard and raised sail.  The wind was light and that was just fine as I had no idea what she would sail like, how tender she was, nor do I feel so sure about the state of the rigging, but even in light winds she had steerage and moved along quite fine.
A lovely Fall day.
In getting her up the river to her winter slip/in the water storage I got to take her for about a 2 1/2 hour sail.  The wind came up nicely, about 12 knots, and I could just take long tacks across the river and back.  I tried "heaving to" just to make sure she would and that worked just fine.  I took the time hove to to eat a snack and watch another boat tacking down river.
Not really the prettiest boat, but,
it floats and sails and is
in the water!  My current magic carpet.
I decided to see just how well we were getting along and sailed her into the marina basin, tacked and sailed past all those big plastic motor yachts.  It felt pretty good go be the only boat sailing while amongst so many boats whose purchase price was so much more than the price of my boat.  In fact, most of there slip fees are many times over the purchase price and the winter slip fee for my boat!!!

I don't think she is the prettiest boat going, but she does seemed to sail well.  She feels comfortable and as though she would take care of me, up to a point.  While sailing along and looking down into the cramped cabin I suddenly found it spacious and was ready to toss in a sleeping bag and camp stove.  If I'd had them with me I might still be out there tonight.  That reminds me, I gotta get better ground tackle for her.  The anchor she came with is to light for my tastes.  I don't plan to do much in the way of improvements to this boat until next spring or summer.  For now I'd just like to sail it.
Hurray, I've got a boat back in the water again!!!!!