Saturday, November 19, 2016

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.

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.

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!

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:

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

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Micro Season Apex!! 80'f in October !!!

Hi temp today 81'f!!!!!!!  No shoes, no socks, no shirt sailing.  Strong north wind, Force 4 with higher gusts.  Today shipped the rudder and steering stick.  It's good to know that it retains it's bite even when healed over, which happened a bit and to a greater degree today as I tried to find out how well the little skiff could stand up the wind. 
At times the wind died down to an easy breeze, and that made for amazing lazy sailing while laid out on the cockpit sole soaking up the heat of the sun, like charging my batteries before the cold sets in.
Looking southwest into sunny sky and cloud and shimmering water
At the auto bridge I dropped the mast and rowed under it and into the marsh.  I still had the rudder in place and with the wind behind me I decided to stand up and sail down wind using my body as the sail.  It worked! Wonderfully actually.  After sitting down all afternoon standing was nice.  The steering stick (a push pull affair) worked as if it was meant for standing and steering.  I was initially concerned about stability, the boats, mine, but it turned out to be just fine.  The floors don't extend to the edges of the boat so standing on them keeps weight inboard where it should be.  I figure that sailing this way would make reefing very easy all you have to do is sit down!
I don't know why but I find it hard to say it but I think it may be true that I am become a "small boat sailor".  I have been so certain that I am not, but my actions and delight in this boat would seem to prove otherwise.
back on the shore, a flat bottomed skiff is so easy to beach and step off dry footed. 
Well this was my 2 days of sailing this week and they were pretty great.  I am learning more and more about this boat each time we go out.  It is great fun to be the smallest boat out on such blustery days and to be doing just fine, sailing amongst the the bigger boats with crews on them, giving way, and taking my rightful way.
I have found that the little bay here, that I hardly even referred to as a bay previously, has now become my own playground with plenty of water for a boat like this and plenty of area for my kind of sailing.  I have a beautiful prominence to the north, with rock cliffs shooting up from the water and a lovely lighthouse atop, marinas all to the west.  To the east, across the river is a beautiful shore that seems like it is far away and I need not venture that far on most outings.  Sailing out as far east as the commercial channel gives me a great view to the south, down river, tall rock cliffs on the western shore and a lovely beach and a point to the south east.  I also know that looking south, I feel the presence of the Atlantic, just 40 miles away.  All I have to do is point that way and sail.  I don't need to, and don't even want to right now, but knowing that it's that easy makes it all a bit more amazing.
If that happened to be my last real outing for the season, then I've done alright, especially considering I didn't start my season until late September.  The handy ease of this boat means that my season never really ends, I just have to be ready for those nice days each month of the year that seem to materialize just to keep me sane and on the water.  I think I will invest in a drysuit for the colder season sailing.  I've been in the cold water once before and have no real desire to experience that again, although, it wasn't something I regret having gone thru, at least now I know what it's like, Hypothermia, and accepting once death in the present moment.  After that, everything seems bonus!

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Huck Finn-ing it

The view from my lunch spot was marsh, reeds, sky, water.  Pretty great to be out on an 80'f day after the middle of October!  Had a romping good sail out in Stony Point Bay, with white caps.  Caught one wave over the weather rail, but ended up not nearly as wet as I have been from spray on my 27' foot boat.
Launched, rowed under a railroad bridge, sailed a half a mile, then dropped the mast and sailed under an auto bridge, then rowed under the lee of the land, raise the mast and sail and we were off!
On the return the marsh seemed like a good place to stall off going home, have a snack, and a short nap.  The little folding grapnel anchor kept us in place just fine.
This boat is soooooooo handy, easy to launch, switch from sail to row to sail.  The anchor is small and light and fit's in a bag with it's rhode.  I am excited about the 15 foot micro cruiser/camper/adventure boat, but sailing this boat and being able to carry it in the pick up truck and launch it myself, easily, will be hard to give up.

Thursday, October 13, 2016

Confluence of waters

I have been preoccupied by the idea of a particular little boat, for sometime now.  I made a chalk drawing of her.
I worked out the dimensions, I made some station frames and used some battens to lay it out in the shop, so that I could get a real sense of what she might be.
this was great fun.  I could actually lay down in the space I set up for a berth, sit in the cockpit, feel what it might be like to be aboard her.
This last issue of WOODEN BOAT MAGAZINE had a piece on a boat of almost identical dimensions, lines, and type.

I found this very interesting timing.  It is also was a bit reassuring to see that an established naval architect drew something very similar and that the boat was built and successful.

With what I have learned over the past month or so of sailing WHISP, I am even more interested in seeing this idea become a reality.
This excitement has spilled over into the project that is the remodel of WANEESHEE,  my Bristol 27, and I have recently made some real progress on her interior adjustments.  It's exciting to see the progress and it makes me happy to think about the occupation of the remaining projects to keep me busy thru out the winter.

I intend to finish sewing the jib for the skiff, though I believe that using it, and the rudder will be something I only due when another person is aboard, or in light air on mild days.  The addition line handling would make it a bit awkward by myself, and steering really is dead simple with the oars.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Bigger water and the Clearwater

A long fetch coming straight up the river, out of the south, force 3 to force 4
                    close hauled, the flat bottomed hull wants to pound when we drop off the wave tops and land in the troughs
I try to steer us to softer landings                We tack and come off the wind sailing into the Marina basin
We ghost along UNICORN, the hands on deck wave and say hello
we come back on our course to sail under The CLEARWATER and the crew waves and admires the little red skiff
                    Back out in the river and we run back up to the next bay, our home, the rolling waves lifting the stern
the main sheet eased out            I worried about control off the wind but needn't be.  It's a fun ride back home

On the approach to the dock I decide that I'm not ready to be done for the day and veer off and sail up to the light house as the sun gets low in the sky
even in the gusts the little sail seems to pull the boat along but not over press it
            It's just the right size for this kind of sailing          We sail right up to the dock and I reach out and loop the painter around a cleat.  3or 4 hours of easy, fun, sweet sailing, running, close hauled, beam reach, spray
This boat fits kind of like a kayak fits.
DDP Clearwater

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

rowing boat-sail boat

Glassy river, so just a row
to the point, to the light house
and back
                    the tide is ebbing and almost slack
row up river and let the current carry me back
                                                                            Out into the channel           the seagulls dive
the surface shimmers and a breeze is on the rise
                            The current helps us home, raise a sail, raise a hope, raise my spirits
at the bow the water sings                 close hauled, ease the sheet come off the wind
make myself comfortable, no shoes, no hat the sun is warm
come about and it's one long tack,
                                    past a beach, past a marina, past a yacht club, past people I go unnoticed
I must be invisible, a ghost ship, bright red hull, big white sail, bright sunshine
no one sees me
                      I'm a ghost, ghosting by right up to the landing with full sail raised
reach out and catch the cleat with my painter. 
A nice breeze is filling in but a couple of hours is enough today, there's always tomorrow, I hope.
I forgot how well this boat rows
row or sail the little skiff is becoming more and more cherished with each outing.  I want to take care of her, get her things, new, longer oars, a tent for the cockpit, better arrangements of everything.  I want to pamper her, which is really pampering me isn't it?
The chair at my desk rises on the swell that the tug that passed me going down river hours ago, left behind.  It's a giddy kind of instability, like a shot of single malt scotch.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Debauched UNICORN Triptych

I missed getting a photo of the ship today, but I snagged these older images off the internet and DDP'ed them.

Whisp, the sailing skiff!

Skiff at Dock, DDP

It's good to be Back

Went out yesterday evening for a nice 3 hour sail.  I had meant to test out the rudder on the skiff but realized I had bent one of the gudgeons by dropping the stern of the boat while trying to off load it from the pick up sometime ago.  The up side was that I didn't need to worry about how the rudder and steering stick worked, and just enjoyed an evening sail to the light house and back.  It was gusty but I think I just about got it right for the amount of sail I have on the rig now.  The boat has weather helm, good, but not so much as to loose control.  The big gusts are easily spilled by easing the mainsheet, and yet, the boat moves along in a light breeze.

Today the weather was even better and I wanted to fix the rudder rig and test it out.  I have been under the belief that steering with the oars works very well and makes for one less bit of gear in the boat to have to control and store and carry, but, I had built this rudder and wanted to try it out.  The rudder is made our of cedar (formerly somebodies decking material for their house) and has positive buoyancy.  The tiller, or rather, the steering stick is yellow pine and works by pulling fore and aft.
Though it does add a complication to the rig, it does work nicely.  I was concerned that the rudder might not have enough wet surface area to provide steerage but at least in moderate winds, it's just fine.  The steering stick could be a bit longer, maybe a foot or foot and a half, and I need to replace the toggle that locks the rudder pintles into the gudgeons, I just tied them together today.
Power sailing for this boat is rowing with the sail up, and it works great.  The transition from rowing to just sailing is quick and easy, just pull in the oars, don't even need to pull them out of their oarlocks.  Steering from the rowing position is easy with the tiller and main sheet easily within reach.

sailing rig ready to go in a matter of minutes, 2 minutes at the most.

Dagger board trunk being built

Dagger board in use.  A bungee cord allows for adjusting to any amount of board depth.
 The mainsheet comes from the clue of the sail down to a detachable block on a ring seized to the stern painter on the transom, then is bent around the forward oarlock sockets then to a cleat on the daggerboard, though I don't cleat it off much.
An Ocean going canoe catamaran at the local marina. Really amazing and beautiful.
I also saw the sailing vessel UNICORN  today, and the skipper was kind enough to invite me aboard to take a look see.  She is about 108' LOA with square sails and fore and aft sails.  I need to look up what that makes her, windjammer, full rigged ship, clipper???????  Great boat.  Enjoyed meeting the Skipper,  If this were a month ago, or things were just a bit different, I'd be pleading for a berth to get the ship down to the Chesapeake.  It would be what some people call a "BUCKETLIST" item for me, sailing a tall ship.
Waiting out Hurricane Matthew by going on perfect daysails here and knowing that people down south are dying a losing their homes, land, is kind of strange.  I guess somewhere in the world something really hard is always happening while something wonderful is also going on.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Vincent van Gogh Debauched

A Van Gogh that's already been stolen once.  Now I'm stealing it and twisting it a bit.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Across and Back, every point of sail!

First real sail, across the river and back. It's soooo good to sail again
I'm calling these pictures "Debauched Digital Photographs"(DDP's)

Coincidence, universally appropriate, call it what you might but on my birthday, a sail across the river makes me feel as though I am reborn, and sailing again for the first time since "A Very Bad Day Sailing"
I believe I had truly forgotten what it felt like to feel welcomed by the water, the river that runs down to the sea and connects to all the oceans of the world.  It is good to be back.

Did I cross back over the river from the under world, The River Styx
Or was it needing to forget, The River Lethe
have I, crossing, got me over my woe, The River Acheron
have I left the shores of lamentation behind, The River of Cocytus
The fires of the river have died down and the water carries me again, The River Phlegethon

I am the ferryman, and I am the passenger
I am the boat, and I am the river
I am the sea

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Micro camp cruiser

This is a concept boat that I've been thinking about for a while.  A 15 foot camp cruiser with a
small cabin to sleep one and gear.  It would have unstayed mast(s) for easy transport or clearance under bridges......
The cockpit is large enough for sleeping too.  Oars would be the other source of propulsion.
Digital manipulation of photo of chalk drawing on wood
DDP (Debauched Digital Phots)
It would be a small cabin, even just for one, but not so small that 2 wouldn't be able to cram in if needed.  I would like it to be under 300 pounds in weight. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

The difference in a day

The difference a day makes is between the potential for fun, and calm and satisfying that craving to be on the water, and looking from the shore, longingly and in amazement at the horrible beauty of the ice covered pond.
3rd day of january, the pond freezes over.
A little more than 15 years ago, in the same week of january, my small yacht sat out on the river, bobbing at it's mooring, an ice ball hanging from the pennants.  That was on a sunday, on monday morning as I made my way to work, going out of my way first to check on my boat, but mostly to get the fix I needed, of seeing here there afloat, before I tackled commuting, masses of humanity and the fast pace of the city, I didn't see her in her usual place.  Something else was strange, the river looked odd, oddly motionless.
Over night the wet and moving river had frozen over and my little boat caught in it had been dragged up river dragged, mooring and all.  It was a transforming moment.
I spent a week believing that I'd lost the boat.  Not only did she get dragged up river, but a bit closer to shore and in shallower water.  At low tides she'd be  be grounded and she'd heal over at an angle that made me feel sick to see.  It brought up images of Shackleton's ENDURANCE.
To skip ahead, the boat was fine.  Much to my disbelief, not only did she rise back up with the high tide but a week later there was some free water and she was tide up at the bulkhead of the local boatyard.  She had no damage, none.  The only thing the ice had done was to clean off the scum line on the bottom.
It was a learning experience and I felt I got of very lucky.
So yesterday I had the possibility of going out on the water for a row, no need to start a car just heft the pram down to the pond and enjoy a bit of time messin' about.  But to day the pond just holds longing for a time a bit further away.  So it's to the shop to have my boat time.  Plan, dream, cut, shape fasten conjure up another magic carpet for a time yet to come, Spring and fresh water.

Friday, January 1, 2016

Happy New Year

Keeping with my tradition of trying to get out on the water, first thing, first day, of the new year, I took the pram down to the pond and went for a row.  Lots of cloud cover, temps in the high 30'sf, but comfortable and the water was wet, as oppose to frozen.
It's a good way to start the year, and to plant a seed for what might be in store for the rest of the year.
Happy New Year!
First row of 2016
The more I use this little boat the more comfortable I am with it and the more useful it seems to be.  What I took as instability when I first got in here I now realize was initial instability, like any narrow boat, a canoe, or kayak for example.  She stiffens up pretty solidly at about 15 or 20 degrees I'd guess.
I am actually surprised that I have not come across many more documentations of this type of boat.  For the person on a budget you can't get much cheaper.  The one sheet of plywood that it requires cost $14.00, and the rest was of the wood was gotten from scrap, but an 8 foot 2x4 would probably have covered the chines and gunnels and another the framing, and you'd have left overs.
This boat seems to be a good answer to needing a tender for a small cruising yacht, as would a kayak but this boat is open and could haul a bit more water or supplies to and from the mother ship.
The wooden floor is down in the shop now so I am just about ready to start setting up for building.  I have become convinced that I should do some work on the skiff.  All these books I've been reading about american heritage small boats, especially the Sharpie's, has me thinking that adding a centerboard to the skiff will produce a decent sailing boat.  We'll see.