Monthly Archives: December 2013

The trip took me

Well , where to start ? Ok , getting here : the first 70 hours weren’t too bad . That’s about 40 hours of darkness and 30 hours of light . I was between montauk and block island at sunset Thursday just after the wind went northwest and the rain cleared . I kinda felt like I was at the top of a long steep ski slope looking way down . I knew once I started there was no turning back with a good strong northerly behind me . And I thought of Ann Davison who at the beginning of her solo trip across the Atlantic in the early 50’s in little Felicity Ann said she felt so lonely at first she just started following any ship she saw no matter what the direction . And i looked back at long island and thought of all those people comfy in their houses getting ready for a nice sleep in their dry warm beds . And waking up in the morning in the same place they had gone to sleep .So wondering what lay ahead I headed directly seaward into the night . I never really felt tired I was so excited that first night . And I assume because of the scopalamine patch I was totally unaffected by the motion , which was a pleasant surprise . An hour or two before dawn just at the edge of the continental shelf I finally had to alter course to go around a fishing boat , the Canyon Explorer . My AIS told me . Just to put it into perspective , it’s not like a last minute near miss or anything . I’d been watching his super bright deck lights for at least an hour and knew all about his size ( 80 feet ) , course , speed , and CPA – closest point of approach . I kept hoping we would keep clear of each other , but eventually I realized if I didnt alter my course we would end up in close quarters . So reluctantly I took to the cockpit and took over the steering and sail trimming if necessary . I don’t remember if the autopilot was still steering or if I was using the wind vane ; either one is a minor pain in the butt to adjust especially at night in 25 knots of wind . That was the last vessel I saw til I was sailing in sight of another sail about a day away from Bermuda . So Friday we screamed along with just a handkerchief of jib up at 7 and 8 knots . By Saturday the wind had increased to 25 to 35 gusting over 40 according to my anemometer . I think it was the night before I had stepped onto the stern platform in water washing up to my knees to adjust the wind vane when I was pleasantly surprised to be in bath tub warm water . And the rest of the way was comfortably warm . Off came the thermal long johns and wool cap . On the one hand , we were making great time to Bermuda , on the other , the screaming of the wind in the rigging the roaring of the waves accompanied by the occasional wave top breaking free and hurtling through the cockpit , and the difficulty in doing anything other than finding a place to hunker down and stare out at the waves rolling by and down the decks , made me long for a break from the wind . Sunday the seas were still up but the wind seemed to have moderated to the twenties . And it looked like I had a chance to get into Bermuda before getting whacked by the next round of weather , which was likely to start with strong headwinds . Until looking aft at dusk I couldn’t believe my eyes . At least I didn’t want to . The weld at the aft post of the cockpit shelter/ tower of power i had built had let go . It’s true , I guess , it takes 10,000 hours to get good at something . So I decided i would stick to carpentry from then on and leave the welding to welders . I sprang to lashing all the joints , and held my breath til reaching Bermuda . Fortunately i am a better lasher than welder and it all held together . 48 hours later I was motoring into st George’s harbor almost exactly 5 days to the hour from departing mystic , looking for a place to get some welding done . I think the sail to Bermuda in the fall is like what women say about childbirth , if you remembered how difficult it was you’d never do it again . But the result is so wonderful you forget about the pain . To read about John lennons life changing sail from Newport to Bermuda in a hinckley 43 , google no place like nowhere .




More than one way

Ok , this is for my boatbuilder friends . I’m looking at this beautiful Alden schooner , around 60 feet , tied up in st George’s so of course I start talking with the guy in the cockpit trimming a drawer with his lie-Nielsen skew angle block plane . who built her ? I did he says matter of factly . The quality and the details are really impressive . I’m thinking this must have taken many years to build . How long did it take you ? Three winters he says . I had a part time helper one winter , he says . I’m incredulous , really ?. Then he starts by telling me the frames , all laminated , are dovetailed into the keel . All the deck beam ends are dovetailed – yeah , he says , it’s the only way I could do it so quickly . After I figured out how to figure the angles it only took a few days to fit all the deck beams with a jig and a router . Then he tells me he cut all the rolling bevels and the caulking seams on the planks with a custom cutter in one pass . Inch and three eighths I believe . He said he really likes routers .The guy and the boat were really something . I think he said the article was in 2004 woodenboat . Matt Murphy , who wrote the article
he said is a good editor but he really didn’t know much about boatbuilding . The name of the boat is heron , ; you can google / you tube her. And his name was twig , I swear. He said she was alden design 300 something so I think she was a malabar from the 20’s . I’ll post a picture of her