Friday, October 31, 2014

Daughter of a Sailor: A Memory Captured

I've just returned with Una from another overnighter, the details of which I'll share later. However, I did want to point you toward photography of a previous sail taken by a genuine talent, A Girl Named Leney. My post of the trip was basic at best. Her camera evokes the style … and, choose to believe it or not, she's my daughter. I'm blessed.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

UNA Gets A Sister

This was not even on my radar, but I stumbled upon a Chesapeake Light Craft Eastport Pram kit one week ago. At 1/3 the current CLC price, I thought it was a real find. Initially I figured I could just sell it for a few "cruising" bucks. That quickly changed as I studied the boat's attributes compared to our current 8' fiberglass dinghy that has been well loved. It is a Sumner 8 that has ferried us from big boats to shore for years. With a 2 hp Honda has served us quite well. The sailing, however, has always seemed somewhat of a compromise in my opinion. With longitudinal buoyancy tanks, you are forced to sit on, and not in, the boat. Also, the sprit rig is complicated with shrouds and the halyard forms a head stay.

At MASCF I saw several Nutshell dinghies that made a lot of sense. Very quickly a kit to sell became one to sail. I could see towing the little bateau behind UNA or our big boat. Exploration via sail in port is an added benefit. Also, it can help teach the children better sailing skills too. So, I had to snag it and did. UNA will have a sister.

I've now probably 26 hours in the build. I'm amazed at how quickly it has come together. Smaller boats are indeed easier. The laps are an interesting hybrid of lap and stitch and glue. Each plank had a rabbeted edge eliminating any planing of the lands. I don't know if it would work on larger boats, but it seems to work fine here.


aft end.

The hull was wired up in about 6 hours! Looks like an upside down boat. Epoxying the laps followed. I'm actually going to follow the Nutshell pram for the interior. Any flotation can be added with a few fenders. I will use the CLC Mk2 sail for this boat. I'll add a single reef point for "training wheels", the foot will be loose, and the spars will be fashioned differently. Many of the details will mimic UNA. I even had left over lumber for thwarts, gunwales, etc.

Inside and out I'll finish her to match UNA. Oh, and the little boat already has a name: Gigi. I have to give my wife credit for this one. It fits I think.

The meaning of Gigi per the Urban Dictionary is: 

The best woman you will ever meet in your life and regret losing when she leaves you. If you leave her you will never forget her and always wish you were back with her. She is too cool for all the fools. A Gigi is hot and finer than any other and she doesn't even care because she doesn't need to rely on her looks to get by in life even though she could if she wanted to. She is the new definition of being "in style".

That may be a lot for this little boat to live up to, but I think she'll be game.

Here are a few more photos of the build so far. The laps have been epoxied and filleted, the inside bottom fiberglassed, and various parts of the furniture have been shaped and installed. Dagger board case is next up.

Glassed bottom.

Cleats positioned and clamped.

Shear bead added per UNA.

Weighted seats to hold cleats.

Bow knees and plugs.

Clamped thwart cleat.

Stern knee with traveller hole.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Sometimes You Need A Push: MASCF 2014

I can't remember the last time I enjoyed an organized event so much. Generally I don't like to be told what to do when, where, or how. And standing in lines … forget it, but this past weekend's event the Mid Atlantic Small Craft Festival in St. Michaels, MD was a wholly different experience.  It had it all: great weather, good people, terrific food, and … wonderful small boats of all description (+/- 125). Add to that, I enjoyed 4 days of solo time with my youngest boy. Oh, and lest I forget, we won some ribbons! Una was voted runner up in looks and we won our class in the 2 races offered.

the skipper with the loot.
To make a quick and proud victory story, conditions were blustery 15-20 kts. Out of +/-55 boats we were 6th or 7th off the port favored start line. In the shadow of larger boats we tacked to starboard, got fresh air and a lift to windward. Now 3rd to reach the windward mark suddenly the tiller stick exploded. A quick attempt to lash a repair failed as we rounded the mark and clipped the buoy. A second lashing held as we re-rounded the mark falling to boat number 6. A close reaching leg took us to the finish in the harbor. Una planed in the buffs, bout the course ended before realizing any gains. Still, we won our class (double mast boats) by quite a margin. I hadn't raced in decades and Una thrilled me to no end with her performance. Had we not lost the tiller extension, I'm confident we could have gotten a 2nd overall. I know, if wishes were horses …

Tops to all that was to meet so many wonderful folks. Lots of these people I knew from other blogs or forums regarding boating. It was a terrific event. People of all ages with their loved boats. It made a great combination in a quaint and lovely town.

We tent camped under the pines on the Chesapeake Maritime Museum grounds. Breakfast and dinners were provided. Some of the best oysters and steamed crabs war Friday night fair. I could go on, suffice it to say that after attending the Annapolis U.S. Sailboat Show for years, I won't miss it. None of the frenetic hucksterism of that show was present. Don't get me wrong. I'm all for making money, but that is not why I sail and it was refreshing to be away from those trendy and god-awful "living rooms with a stick". I can't remember the last Annapolis show where I saw a boat I'd like own (unless it is the diminutive standout Melonseed. When I first noticed them, they were $4,500. Now they ask for $12,000. Ouch! The only trading going on in St. Mikes was a small swap opportunity under a tent Sunday. All in attendance seemed to be good people who love small boat and enjoyed sharing them. So, in no particular order are some images throughout the weekend.

museum sharpie

small leak

Grandpa Checkers

Saturday afternoon

Friendship Sloop


"Una" and her specs

vane to be copied?

just a view

good guy

sweet transom


more view

Friendship and pram

New friends Alan, Maryanne and Didi steering "Dark Star"

vintage sailing canoe

George's Crotch Island Pinky

a Coquina

more canoe

Skin on frame Greenland kayak


pulling boat

young lad's pond yacht

tank testing

Peter and his Caledonia Yawl "Nip"

boat yard in the tide

hot rod racing skiff

John rigging his CY

Museum's clinker Melonseed

skipper testing a CLC Petrel Play

messing about in boats

Barry and his beautifully built Melonseed "Aeon"

crew ready to go!

Dale - 1/2 man and 1/2 F-1 kayak.

Dark Star

excellent musicians

skipjack and ferry

oyster tonging

happy sailor

"Aeon" and friends



high class 

Sunday morning

skipper with a lashed tiller out for his morning sail

Shelly Moth over fearing
Pictures don't do it. I was told I wouldn't know unless I go. Glad I didn't risk missing it. We're ready for next year!