Afreakingmazeme

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The universe just blew my fricking brains out, not in a million years could I have imagined how amazing a simple road trip could be. I don’t know how to explain in words. I cant understand so I won’t even try.

  
You take chances in life, you have to or nothing good will ever happen.  But what happens when you push too far?  I can’t tell you because every single time I make some giant boneheaded decision totally and finally screwing myself to no end the universe shines a little light on me and again proves when you do your absolute best to be the best person you can it doesn’t go un noticed. 

  
I’ve always been more on the giver side than the taker side but never for any reason, that’s jus how I roll and more than often it’s taken advantage of but it doesn’t  stop me. I woke up today to literally the best damn day of my life, there is so much good going on in the world of Stormy that it’s undescribable from the little iPhone I’m blogging on today. 

  
If you think the universe isn’t providing for you in a proper manor maybe it’s because you haven’t given enough good to the world, or any for that matter. All I know is that at this second every single star in the universe is shining on me and I am greatful beyond belief. I’d write more but I have a hundred wines to sample and an entire ocean of fresh sea food to nibble on. Perhaps we don’t say it enough in this world, if you are reading my simple words I love you, honestly and truly from the bottom of my heart and soul I do. Thank you for sending the universe to me and once again saving me from my mumbling bumbling Forrest Gumping way of falling down only to be picked up, dusted off and sent on my merry way with a pat on the bottom. 

Uke Hunt

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My last good deed before leaving the islands was to give my ukulele to a young student who needed it more than I did.  It was hard to let go of my most prised possession  but it was a good thing.  There was nothing special about it, just a little concert uke, but it was very sentimental to me.  Ive carried it everythwere I have gone since the day it was given to me.

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The journey home has begun and along the way I will stop at every flea market, pawn shop and luthier looking for a new side kick.  I’m not looking for anything special but I am incredibly picky about sound and playability.  My fifteen minutes of fame as I played rockstar in the park made me smile as much as anything else in the world.  All the smiling faces and laughs as I belted out tone deaf covers made me want to be a rock star but it’s the down time that makes the little uke so special.  Small and light, they travel well.  They are the perfect size for a little boat, strap easily on the back of the bike or I can just sling the gig bag over my shoulder and search out my little perch.
Everywhere where I went people would come up smiling and thank me for my song.  Soft sweet melodies flow even for the un-talented player like me.  Like the pied piper the music these little wooden boxes makes is intoxicating.  I wrote many new songs during my hiatus and now with no strings to pluck I’m at a bit of a loss.  Although the journey I’m taking is to find a new uke, im not in a rush. When the time is right, it will find me.  If you have a bit of stress in your life, I highly suggest you pick up a nice used uke and strum the pains of the day away.  It’s impossible not to be happy playing this curious little happy maker.

If I was ever stranded on a desert island the only thing I would want would be my ukulele and my tooth brush, anything else I could make.

Ukuleles will get you through times with no money better than money will get you through time with no ukulele – anonymous

Feels Like Home

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I get lost in my mind floating on the wind, I’m home.  Raindrops pelt the rising tide.  The evening sun hangs somewhere behind a dark vail of storm clouds.  My eyes are tired but I fight sleep, I don’t want this feeling to end. I lock the cabin from the inside, the candles are already lit, the warm flicker of a new beginning dances in  the breeze. Soft music drifts into the v-berth, I can feel its rhythm pulsing through my body.

Not all who wander are lost.  This meandering journey never ends, it just changes course. I’ve traveled for what feels like an eternity on the souls of my bare feet.  I buried my best friend and met an angel. I’ve soared high above the Eagles across oceans.  Chasing gravity on two tiny wheels down the side of a volcano was the climax to 8 hard, wet and exhausting  hours in the saddle of my Brompton. Packed in a  tin can like a sardine I’ve traveled far too many miles in a car that can top a hundred MPH yet it moved slower than I can walk.  A crazy train dropped me off at a lonely bus station and then there was the boat, more like a magic carpet ride drifting on the winds of the BC coast. Some days I hitch hiked, others I took a cab and one amazing day I was offered a ride for no reason from a complete stranger.  I’ve said a thousand hellos and goodbyes.  I’ve seen so many pairs of eyes all the same yet so very different.  I’ve slept on empty beaches,  in steamy jungles, on a couch, the floor, a single bed, a double bed and one made for a king. Laying on a balmy beach under a blanket of stars I shared the blood moon with the only other soul on the planet.  I swam with sharks, turtles and mermaids.  Somewhere between here and Alaska I sailed through a summer gale and was reminded why I will never sail solo again.  Backpacking along the edge of the Pacific Crest Trail, I taught a young girl how to make fire, yes it can snow even in the middle of summer.

I’ve packed a lifetime into every bit of the last 9 months and all those that came before. Spending time is my birthright and I do like a millionaire. I’ve learned many lessons, made a few mistakes and  again somehow survived my own stupidity.  I may not possess  a single pair of shoes but the world is good to me. According to the people that make all the rules I live well below the poverty line.  I say live well because that’s what I do, the only thing I don’t do well is follow the rules, I make them up as I go.  I’ve been told that I have Peter Pan Syndrome, that I’m a man cub.  Riding down a lonely road on a tiny island in the middle of the Pacific without a care in the world I’m smiling so hard my face hurts and I have to agree.  The music is soft and sweet and, shhh …

I’m Instantly brought back to reality.  Life is good but I’ve been avoiding going home for too long.  I’m afraid of what I will find waiting for me.  I remember the last time I lifted Chloe out of Sookie, I knew she wasn’t coming home.  So fresh but so long ago the pain doesn’t get better, it gets worse.  I’m dragging my feet, afraid of what I will face alone on what was our home for so many years.  If I don’t like it i will get back on the bike and ride away the very same day. I’m not looking foreward this portion of the journey but it’s time to go home.  I was going to bring a new pup from the rescue but I couldn’t do it not yet, maybe not ever.  Ive never felt more alone in my life, I’m continually surprised how much love and happiness that little puppy brought into my life.  I scribble the song I’m listening to into my logbook.

Take that ribbon from your hair, shake it loose and let it fall.

Playing soft against your skin, like the shadows on the wall.

Come and lay down by my side, till the early morning light.

All I’m taking is your time, help me make it through the night.

I don’t care if it’s right or wrong, don’t try to understand.

Let the devil take tomorrow, cause tonight I need a friend.

Yesterday is dead and gone, and tomorrow’s out of sight.

And it’s sad to be alone, help me make it through the night.


All Plain Sail

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Hanging on for dear life I straddle Sookies bow Sprite like a bull rider, bucking and pitching it can get pretty exciting out there.  Her bow net keeps me in check as a frothy green sea attempts to swallow me whole washing  me from my little perch. I swear I’m going  to add roller furling to save me from the precarious journey out to the ends.  An hour later Im working my way to weather.  My main double reefed and slightly backed my Yankee and staysail flat and drawing nicely.  I survey my little ship and wonder why anybody would ever add a roller furler to thier boat.

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The bow Sprite and the staysail are two of the most traditional features found on boats that sail, they also happen to be two of the most modern.  You won’t find a racer worth his salt that doesnt have these wonderful additions to thier satly craft.  At 22′ LOD Sookies 5 foot bow Sprite is on the larger side, at 30’6″ LOA she carries a fair bit of canvas.

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A good set of crisp new sails can literally cost more than the average budget cruiser.  When it comes to sailing boats the sails are at the highest priority, for safety and fun.  The best boat in the world will still sail at a severe handicap with tired old sails, add the performance penalty of roller furling and your really out on a tired old dog.

On my micro budget Sookie carries all plain sail.  With her main, Yankee and staysail she has 15 different usable sail combinations and sails well enough with any and all of them, a new Asym  will complete the package.  She will work any sailable point of the compass with main alone and any combination of reef points as she will under staysail alone or Yankee alone.  I’ve done quite a bit of performance testing on her intentionally putting myself in undesirable situations for a bit of real world testing.  She does a fantastic job but I always have my eyes on a full set of Hasse sails and yes there is a difference.  On these old traditional boats it’s very important to keep your drive foreward of the center.  For all the teasing I do of Sookie she isn’t really slow, wet or tender but she is a slow manovering tank with her proper full keel.  The reason I chose Sookie is that she was to only boat under 28′ designed with a full keel capable of heaving to, the cutaway keel robs the boat of this ability but still peanalizes the sailor with slow dorky handling. Puttting Sookie in tight spaces is always exciting, doing it backwards adds to the fun.

For my personal needs the good old design keeps my boat simple and relatively mainetnece free.  A good set of working sails, a stern hung rudder, outboard chain plates and lots of sail combinations without filling the belly of my tiny beast with half a dozen bags of sails.  All her Haliards are at the mast where I prefer them. Her mast stoutly mounted to the deck of the boat so I am standing on deck when I’m working foreward, not perched on top of the cabin.  This is a relatively secure set up, I say relatively because the smaller the boat the more lively she will be and I’ve had some pretty wild rides up there.  When it comes to safety at sea a large functioning boat will always be safer than a small functioning boat but safety is a very relative term as is comefort at sea.

Looking at the new BCC she has all the features I desire in a boat but I just can’t wrap my head around her interior.  I’m not even remotely fond of all the wasted space of an enclosed head on such a small boat and putting it in the bow is down right retarded.  My preferred head has always and will always be a plastic bucket.  I’ve never had a problem showering on deck or in the sea and I don’t ever see how it will be an issue.  On the other hand finding  a compatable coed that prefers these choices has proven to be a bit of a challenge.  Many compare life on a small boat as camping, I couldnt argue more  against that point other to say they obviously have never cruised on a small well designed boat.  Sookie has larger berths than an Island packet 38. More usable counter space than a Catalina 36, I better comefort ratio than over 90 percent of boats under 38′ and capsize ratio of 1.67 and a range of positive stability at a very respectable 133.These are all big numbers but the fact remains that she is a tiny little boat, if your not a snuggle ninja you could never be happy on such s small yacht.  I like cozy small places and sharing my personal space but in the world we live in of bigger is better I’m one of the few.

Regardless of the boat I sail the rugged west coast of Vancouver Island has been calling my name, sail north across the pacific or circumnavigate the island, either way it’s a win win.  I have every chart I need but one, two great boats to choose  from and nine months till winter.  More than anything I want to return to the Caribbean but not until I have made my way to Glacier Bay and back.  I love the process of daily miles made good, a new and interesting protected anchorage every night and the challenge of the unkown.

Windy Dancer

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I’m six weeks out from my first real shake down cruise of the season, it will start at Rosario, its spa is absolutely delightful and not to be missed.  The East Sound is a vortex on bad days and I have been caught off guard more than once but Sookie drives nicely under reduced sail in the bucking conditions that little bay is famous for.

  
With a bone in her teeth, hard on the wind she is an absolute dream to sail.  A week in the islands will do by brain good, as a sailor I hope for the the best weather at this time of year but expect the worst.  Over the years Sookie has seen everything Mother Nature can throw at her and has never let me down but she does have one big handicap, in heavy winds she is a dream to weather but throw a huge nasty chop and a true sustained 40 knots and she starts to suffer. I have a had some painfully slow and exiting times trying to make good to weather in these conditions.  It could be me, or her sails or just the fact that she is so small but I always have a blind eye to the weather.  

  
Eventually I plan to ship her east and take her south to the Caribbean, the most challenging place I have every sailed.  I’ve been truly freighted on boats more than once in my life and most of those experiences are from the Caribbean.  Too much wind, lots of unpredictable currents and lightning storms.  Leaving Panama we also had heavy traffic to contend with, triple over head seas and a sick crew.  Is was like sailing through a beautiful fish tank watching dolphins soar through the water 10 feet over my head while breakers filled the cockpit and soaked us through our foulies.  A warm surge of water down the neck was the only time we weren’t freezing.  I swear we were all borderline hyperthermic within the hour.

  
Sookie will get her final fidaly bits of this and that this season as I hope to finish her rig, a project I started nearly 5 years ago.  As silly as it may seem I’m thinking about adding a third reef to her main and two sets to her staysail.  This little boat carries a good amount of canvas but as of now too much when the wind pipes up and not enough on those days where we drift from zephyr to zephyr. 

  
I’m also rethinking my ground tackle that has never let me down but I’m always looking for a better way.  The real question is can I haul 100lbs off the bottom.  I do my best to anchor in shallow water but sometimes the bottom is an easy hundred feet down.  Life aboard a small boat isn’t always easy but it’s worth the challenge and those magical days are worth every single cold and frightening moment.  They say that sailing is 90% bordom and 10 sheer terror. I started with a solid foundation and have built a ship from it.  The most important part of good seamanship is knowing that I am always the weakest link on my boat.  Sookie is a dream happily drifting about the sound but that’s not what I built her for.  

Safe Harbors

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It’s been said that the safest place for a ship is in the harbor but ships are meant to be at sea.  I don’t mean to sound ungreatful  but I’m literally desperate enough to chew my foot off to get back home to the islands. 

  
I’ve been living in a beautiful large warm home on a hill. Every night I have meals made from scratch, good company and as many hot showers as a sailor boy can take.  I want for nothing in the sense that I am taken care in every way, shape and form.  Despite all of this I am a desperate soul.  I wasn’t meant to live a life in the lap of luxury.  I’m an explorer, an adventurer and an escape artist. It’s through toil that I prevail, I live my life through constant experience, I can’t sit still.  I am a nomad, a loner, a hermit.  I’d rather spend my days with one good person than a dozen mediocre ones.  I do great in Social settings but it’s not my cup of coffee.

Give me the challenge of a storm, the wind in my face.  Let me be challenged by wild animals and wild encounters.  I am man, there are so very few of us left but make no mistake I am the top of the food chain.  I would kill or die for the freedom that fills my lungs, my heart and my soul.  I’ve never once taken a risk in my life, I take rewards, the payoff is freedom.  If your sitting around wasting your life thinking something will change, it won’t. Think of all the things you could have done by now with all of the time you wasted thinking about doing them.  

“Somebody ought to tell us, right at the start of our lives, that we are dying. Then we might live life to the limit every minute of every day. Do it, I say, whatever you want to do, do it now.” — Michael Landon

One plus One =

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I scribble a few more notes and pull out my calculator.  37′ makes for a pretty large slip fee but at sea she is just a little 28’sailboat displacing 14,000lbs, not exactly a  behemoth  by anybody’s standards.  Her Mike Anderson wind vane is the first thing I touch and it sings freedom to me, she also has two nice auto pilots.

  
I search for airline tickets to the South Pacific and they are quit reasonable.  I ask myself if I’m ready for a three thousand mile windward passage. The answer is always yes.

  
Long flat wide decks with tall stanchions and a big beefy bow sprite.  Her cockpit is comfy, I sat for hours in it drinking ice cold beers, eating snacks and discussing my favorite topic, small ships. I climbed the mast and inspected every inch of her rigging, it’s good.  Her sails are good, her bones are good, her price is almost good.  Will she be cozy and warm or the straw that broke the camels back.  

  
For everything I have to gain I lose the one thing that I prize more than anything, simplicity.  I tease my friends and tell them that you will never get a girl to lie down in a boat she can’t stand up in, these word echo through my head, I write more numbers on a piece of paper and fax it off to my future, maybe…

  
In every sailors life there will come a time when we stop playing pirate and become one.  A sturdy ship, a hearty wench and the promise of the high seas.  If you don’t believe in love at first sight I can’t convince you any differently, but I do.  She makes me want to be a better man, to work harder at protecting her and keeping her safe and happy and nourished.  Ive sailed and loved many a good ships in my short years on this planet but never before had I been so taken by sheer beauty.

  
I reflect back to my first sailboat, I wasn’t old enough to drink yet but I already knew exactly what I wanted in life.  Her name was Atarah, I didn’t inspect her or ask a single question of the seller, she was for sale and felt right so I bought her and started sailing.  Eventually that little weekend cruiser took me to Mexico and beyond.  I did my all time longest solo passage on her which was beautiful in so many ways but most importantly in solidifying the simple fact that anything worth doing in life is better done in good company.  The simple answer to the question is two“

You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.” 

― Henry David Thoreau

The Hangover

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Every time I think my life can’t possibly get any better it does, go figure.  I walked into the office before noon and announced that I was drunk.  It wasn’t a secret ploy to get fired, I’ve already given my notice but I do have short timers disease. Not only did I not get fired but I was handed a giant bottle of private reserve whiskey to fill the man can.

  
My task for the day, simple as it may seem was to top 55 casks of world class wine.  It took me all day but I prevailed and in the process tasted every single last one of them, it was like playing 99 bottles of beer on the wall only with thick perfectly fermented Oaky Cabs.  I stumbled through the isles of super stores getting this and that and everything I can’t afford in the islands.  Not only is it dirt cheap here but there is no sales tax.  I have to be careful but if I do everything goes  right I will have ecactly enough to launch Sookie and that’s where the adventure begins, the sailing season is here.

  
You can blame it all on her big sister Seraffyn and some day I might write the story of how we met but that’s a story for another day.  Long before Seraffyn came into my life and before I knew anything of Lyle Hess a miricle much like to day transformed my life.  I was standing in the breezeway at Ron Pearsons marine fuels on Shelter Island when I saw the most beautiful yacht I had ever seen in my life coming into the Marina.  I’m my usual insanely enthousiastic way when it comes to fine yachts or living in general my head nearly exploded.  I went running down the ramp, launched 6 feet through the air and landed in the cockpit of the most beautiful yacht I had ever seen in my life.  I fired off questions like a machine gun in battle and Roger Olsen the owner of Sam L Morse and the man who built Sookie smiled with pride from ear to ear as he patiently answered each and every one of them.  That was the day I decided my future but it wasn’t fate that intervened that day, it was my destiny.  

I feel sorry for people who don’t drink, when they wake up that’s the best they will feel all day.  Frank Sinatra 

Taleisin

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It’s been almost 10 years now since a chance meeting changed my life.  On a road trip back to Lake Tahoe from my little Flicka is Southern Caloforna I ran into Lin and Larry Pardey and was given an opportunity to go through every inch of their 30′ Lyle Hess designed and home built Talesin.  It changed everything I ever thought I knew about sailboats, design and size.

The proud owner of a Pacific Seacraft Flicka when I woke up that morning.  Before I would go to sleep the descision would be Made to sell that wonderful little boat. She did almost everything we asked of her but she was small and slow when fully loaded.  Try as we might we could never fit enough junk in her without over loading her LWL. Sookie is only two feet longer but her waterline adds three feet and her displacement is 3000lbs greater.  You will never hear me utter a negative word about the wonderful little ship but we needed more cargo carrying capacity.

When the opportunity to take over costodianship of Sookie, then un-named I made a verbal deal sight unseen.  The next morning we drove 27 hours did a quick lookieloo and a hand shake deal sealed my future. The question that I had back then and still have now is can two people happily and successfully voyage on a 22′ sailboat.  Two bikes, camera gear and computers, foulies and boots, warmies and treats.  Just the fun stuff takes a huge amount of space.  Add in a dingy  and maybe a life raft, extra ground tackle, sails, lines, fenders… And a gazillions gallons of water and you have a full load.  The smaller the boat the more important to balance the load becomes.  For my mental stability I need a boat that will carry all these things plus a solid three months of food, very few 30 footers will carry this amount of junk without being overload, its a lot to ask of a 22’er but at a smidge  over 5 net tones of displacement we have the space and the capacity. I need everything to go into its place so my tiny home can feel like a cozy yacht.  So far little Sookie has done everything I ask of her.

I say so far because I’ve never carried the incidentals the make the cruising life comfortable such as huge sun awnings, cockpit cushions, abandon ship and emergency gear and addition tools for storm tactics.  I refuse to have anything on deck that ruins the lines of this little masterpiece so simple things such as solar power become a huge design challenge.  Dingys need to go away without over weighing her ends as do secondary anchors and ground tackle.  It’s all nearly an impossibility on a pocket cruiser like Sookie but I hope to prove possible with a little creative provisioning.  To date I’ve been relying on mass amounts of canned foods and easy cook meals due to not having a real cooker on the boat.  This year I will delve into made from scratch meals focusing on dried beans as my main staples and hope to cut my canned food supply by 75% add to my home preserved foods in reusable glass jars and incorporate a pressure cooker to save on fuel for further space and weight reduction.  I’m still not comfortable pulling my food from the sea so my diet will continue to lean towards vegetarian and vegan.  If we’re in warmer waters I would add a pole spear to selectively fish but here in the San Jauns I’m not comefortable with the Russian roulette of fishing or the stench or storage issues of crab pots on a small boat.

Back to Talesin, I drafted from memory every inch, nook and cranny of that fine ship hoping that some day little Sookie will use every single centimeter of storage effectively and neatly.  One of my favorite things about living aboard a sailboat is the opportunity to create a perfect living space.  My footprint is tiny but Sookie gets larger every year.  There are only a small handful of boats ever designed or built that I would consider putting this kind of personal effort or expense into but Sookie isn’t just a sailboat.  She is my home, my calling card and my personal work of art and refinement.  I don’t love her because I own her, I own her because I live her.

Made For Escaping

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When you live on a small sailboat outside isn’t very far away.  With no television, Internet or any of the other wonderful distractions life throws our way the days are long and more often than not fun filled.  Throw work out the window and I wonder how many people could happily and successfully occupy the typical 18 hour days the the pacific north west throws our way, for me there never seems to be enough time. 

   
I’m in the precession of wrapping up the first of the three months I will work this year, the other nine are mine.  Bike touring the islands, sailing, a new photography project and as many days as I can fill surrounded by good friends, new and old.  The year will end with my bike tour of Cuba but now a new adventure has been put on the table, Alaska.  Alaska is the one and only place on this planet that has successfully eluded me for a lifetime.  On  paper it seems an impossibility with so many other adventures on the map but sometimes you just have to take a chance and show up, May is looking like the perfect time to sneak out, jump the Blue Canoe and make my way north.  

   
A the ripe age of 23, a budding young and very successful photographer I was sitting in the park enjoying a peanut butter sandwich.  My view was a beautiful Pacific Seacraft Flicka named Toucan.  I loved that boat and went to visit it often. At the time I had three full time jobs, didn’t know it at the time but I was setting up for a trip that would change my life forever. A man came over and asked me if I was a traveler pointing to my camera bag.  We chatted a bit before he told me about the Alaska Marine Hwy system. At that point in my life Alaska had never been on my radar, but I wrote all the information in my spare little reporters journal, that pad would soon form into a travel journal as I crossed wonderful destinations off my list and added more and more destinations to my memory banks.

  
I had been successfully saving my pennies for a Flicka but the closer and closer I came to realizing my dream the more I learned about boats and boating, the more ownership seemed like a prison, the boat a financial ball and chain that would keep me from living the life of an explorer that I wanted to.  I had already cruised extensively and while I loved it I also. Found myself wanting more than always being attached to a boat.  I didn’t want to be owned by the boat, wanted to see the world and while I knew I could a afford to purchase the boat even way back then, I also knew that the sea wore me out and that as much as I love traveling with the wind I also like to get away from the constant mainetnece and expense and travel by other means, that was over twenty years and 10 boats ago.  After all this time I still have not been able to commit to any one one way of life.  My preferred method is to do everything I enjoy for shorter periods, biking, touring, travel, camping, backpacking, road trips and just plain old living aboard.  As much as I love to get out and roam, coming home is one of my greatest passions.

  
The Pacific North West may be the only place in the world where you can live aboard and sail year round in wild and Un-polluted areas.  In my humble opionion it’s the best cruising grounds on earth, has all the wild the world has to offer yet is only a short sail from America, good work, reasonably priced boatyards and has real live aboard status in the marinas.  I look at my pile of stuff and Realise I’ve finally done ir.  My collection of toys is complete, my life is made for escaping.  I look at my life, my empty budget and the fact that I’m  many miles from home, all calculated risks. I not broke, I’m even.  The real adventure is the freedom to choose, the cost is everthing you have and the payoff is priceless.

Two Weeks Notice

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How many days have I been away from Sookie it doesn’t matter.  A long journey is coming to an end so a new one can begin.  Gone are all my worries, true freedom sits at my doorstep.  Some days the wind will be my friend, but others she will test my resolve.  The coldest days of winter are slipping behind leaving the wet grey reminder that spring is near. I stand naked and dripping in the mirror surveying my body, my strength is coming back and I’m going to need every ounce of it.

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I’ve given my notice and in a matter of days I will start my journey west.  Not home to Sookie, not yet. I need movement, not the kind where you go somewhere and stay a while before moving on, that’s not travel.  I need to see the unknown horizon, to travel with good company and to experience the story’s I will write when I’m feeling nestaligic for yesterday’s setting sun.  

I left my little island home with a expedition size load and I will be returning with the same amount of luggage only this time it will be very different.  I have been collecting this and that carefully  storing away each item in a box for a later date. I’m prepared for the cold, the unknown, the uncertainty of what may or may not lay ahead.  

I’ve been careful not to make any plans, there are no obligations, no expectations… I don’t need another job, my sandles are ready and my feet fill them perfectly.  Each step is my own, I rest when I’m tired and I run when I’m excited.  I left Sookie neatly wrapped up and ready to go, all I have to do is hose her off, fill her water tanks, make my bed and go, or stay or…

With the stars to guide me through the night, the promise of a rising sun in the east and the knowledge of where I’ve been I will follow my compass to my new home.  

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence.

Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent.

Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb.

Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.

The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

– Calvin Coolidge

The Best Camera Is The One You Own

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I can’t image life without this little blog. Just  like a body builder needs to lift weights every day to stay strong a writer must write every day to keep the flow flowing.  Of course my life isn’t ecactly exciting but a few descent snap shots adds a bit of spice to a dry and bland dinner.

Blogging from my iPhone was a challenge but a few months into it I proved if nothing else it’s possible, I was a bit shocked at the quality of the images taken on my old iPhone. Their not great but substantially better than they appeared in the camera.  I don’t care where I’m going or what I’m doing I have my camera with me.

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I’ve used everything form a $15.00 Craigslist point and shoot to high end amature cameras on this blog and the old saying it’s not about the camera is certainly true to a point.  Trying to shoot video with my 6 year old DSLR was a complet failure but I will try again this year using an upgraded version of the exact same camera.   I’m going to have to wait for my new lens as it has gone on a cross country road trip without me but eventually I know it will make it into my hands. Until I figure a way to load the images onto my iPad it doesn’t matter because I will have no way of sharing them.  My latest addiction is to Instagram and I’m absolutely in love.  Not the warm squishy love like the kind I have for Jessica Alba but more of a learning through watching type of love.  There are so many amazing photos I can’t get enough.  I’ve also made a surprising new amount of friends there, you know what they say… Birds of a feather flock together.

Regardless of what it is I’m shooting with, I’m always shooting.  I take pictures of everything, everywhere  I go every day of my life.  There was a time when I was a young budding pro and rookie of the year.  The guy all the pros kept a close eye on.  Those day are long gone, now I’m just a happy crusty old snap shooter but still in love with the sport every bit as much as the the first day I picked up a real camea.


My bug out bag is filled with camera gear, my writing platform what ever flavor it may be at the time and a lucky pair of panties that was given to me in the oddest of situations, but I’m superstitious and like I was told to do I carry them everywhere I go. They make a great wrap for my camera as my old blood stained Domke complete with a bullet hole has been retired.  I remember the good old days when I would process my film by the light of a single candle in a slow babbling brook  First the developer and then the fix, using simple metal bowl. It was surprising easy to process film anywhere in the world I found myself. These days the digital platform isn’t quite as free and we carry a hell of a lot mor gear but I always know I can grab my iPhone and hit the road and still consider myself a serious amature.  Just like riding a bike, photography is one of life’s simple joys that takes us back to our childhood. We can do it anywhere we choose in any fashion and never needed anything more than that special place somewhere between shadow and darkness formed deep in the recesses of our imagination.

“Everything you can imagine is real.” 

― Pablo Picasso

Simplicity

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You can tell a lot about a person by the boat that chose them.  The outboard engine strapped on the back of a sailboat might be the ultimate in sophistication but it also says a lot about the person sailing the boat.  It isn’t because I hate the internal combustion engines, but I do.  It isn’t because on some level that I am  a purist, but I am. It isn’t because I hate the smell of fuel in my boat, but I do.  It’s for one reason plain and. Simple.

  
It’s because I simply can’t afford the cost of owning and maintaining a boat with a Diesel engine.  I don’t want the speed penalty of a prop dragging or the extra two holes to maintain in the boat.  I want the space for wine and my bike that is taken by these huge and stinky mechanical beasts but more importantly I want my boat to remain a sailboat and not a motor sailor.

I was watching my neighbor installing a 19k new Diesel engine in his 14k sailboat and wondered why?  I wasn’t judging, just curious as to the logic of his descision.  I remember 200 miles into my solo trip to Mexico when on a still windless day my outboard literally blew it’s stack.  In a fit of rage I threw it off of the boat and became a instant convert to the engineless way of life.  Now older and wiser I can see the logic of a solid inboard but still can’t justify the expense or any of the other downfalls just to make my life just a bit easier.  Old leaking tanking tanks stink and all old tanks will eventually start to leak.  I remember using 230 Sawzall blades to extract the diesel tank on a friends boat. That and many other experiences through the years keep me keeping my little boat simple.  I still happily use a plastic bucket, a lead line and a compass and Hank on sails but I think I’m in the minority.

You see them all over the place, sailors motoring when there is perfect wind.  I always wonder why they would motor when they could sail but then again why do people drive their cars when they could walk or ride their bike.  Part of living the simple life for me is simply cutting out all options that might make me lazy.  Opening day is coming and there will be a big party at the dock, I turn my attention to buying painting and varnishing supplies to make Sookie look like a million bucks before all the yachties show up, she is my calling card afterall.  The long days sanding, buffing and painting make her a shiny girl but they also force me to look at and touch every inch of her every season.  I know my little boat like the back of my hand, not just how she looks and feels but how she sails and that’s why I have a sailboat in the first place, so I can sail.  One of the hardest parts of achieving true freedom is extracting all the things from your life that can rob it in an instant.

The Man Can

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It isn’t often that I actually envy myself but today I do. Im having an absolute awesome year but it’s certainly been one of letting go, stripping my life to its very basics essence and now rebuilding in my typical grab the bull by the tail and look him square in the eye fashion.  You might think you have a man cave, but if it doesn’t have a Man Can you are sadly mistaken…you better Axe somebody.

  
It all started when I finally realized that if I didn’t pull a classic Stormy and blow my wad, that I have exactly enough money to get home, launch Sookie and perhaps not even starve to death in the first month.  Then it happened, I found the perfect camera that I couldn’t afford but must to have to complete my expedition/bug out/man cave arsenal. It was one of those deals that will be gone in a milasecond, I wheeled and dealed and it was sure to be mine if I could get there before the other people coming to buy it.  My ride, now an hour late was starting to concern me, I sent a message.  Are you ever coming home?  No reply, I thought my luck was running out so I sent a letter to the seller now two hours after I was scheduled to buy the camera, SOLD!     DAMMIT!  I felt just a bit releaved because there was no way I could afford this camera and the universe was smiling at me by depriving me of my most loved way of seeing the world, through the lens.

Back to my business of getting home I was once again side tracked and found the true paterfamilious of cameras and deals.  Hard as I try to negotiate this guy wouldn’t budge an inch or hold the camera till I could get to Portland to pick it up, I even offered to send an imideate non refundable deposite, no, no, no, first come first sale.  By some rare miricle I scored a ride two hours north the very next day and now am the proud owner of a brand spanking new to me, very lightly used studio kept DSLR. This thing looks like it is straight out of the box, has very low miles on it and is ready to go. I ordered a lens from eBay but sent it to the wrong address so we will see when I actually get to go shooting but it’s all coming together.

I knew that there was no way I could afford to go this route but I also couldn’t afford not to. That’s how I get shit done, by just doing it.  The best part of the puzzle was an hour later at the wine supply store when I was more than admiring the Man Can, a 64 ounce mini steel wine keg when the owner handed it straight to me as a gift for reasons still unkown.  This thing is stupid awesome and will officially complete the man cave, best of all it’s an instant party disguised in a clean and sanitary yet reusable drinking utensil.  I’m surely convinced that this is the Univeses way of congratulating me on my continued boneheadedness that keeps this whole gravy train rolling.  It’s also a reminder, not that I need one of how awesome the world is when we let it be.

Step off the cliff and a net will appear.  I don’t know who wrote this but it could have been me.

Less Is More

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At no time does this become more apparent than when you have all of your worldly belongings on your back trudging through the tropical mid-day sun.  My expedition gear is almost complete, boat, bike, backpack.  All I need is photo and video gear to document it and my simple life will be complete.

  
Piece by piece I go through every single item attempting to not only I minimize my load but to make more space for food in my 38 liter Osprey pack.  When I get to Sookie this pack will be stored away ready for travel and my Topo Designs Ketter pack will come out for shorter and long term ultra light travel.  

  
Unpacking from my recent trip to Maui, I went through every item in my pack, I didn’t ever touch 80% of the contents including my sleeping bag.  The big pack is for mountian explorations while the little one is for cycle touring and longer term travel like my upcoming trip to Cuba. 

  
My best rule of travel is to take half as much stuff and twice as much money, this was my downfall when three days into my Hawaiin  expedition I found myself with less than $250.00 and way too much gear.  It was impossible to stealth camp carrying the huge burden.  My next trip will find a half empty daypack with a light sweater, spare pair and my toothbrush. Anything else I can find along the way or make.

  
The ultralight life is a good one, small, simple and free as a bird to roam wherever I choose, however I choose.  This past weekend was a true reminder of what freedom means to me.  Earth, wind, fire and water, the four basic elements that rule my existence and provide my freedom. 

The old school of thought would have you believe that you’d be a fool to take on nature without arming yourself with every conceivable measure of safety and comfort under the sun. But that isn’t what being in nature is all about. Rather, it’s about feeling free, unbounded, shedding the distractions and barriers of our civilization—not bringing them with us.” 

― Ryel Kestenbaum

Slow Wet And Tender

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I’m further away from anywhere I’ve ever been, somewhere in Oregon.  I look out the window at the rainy sky and feel the ocean as if it’s close enough to touch, today it is.  You can blame sailors like Robin Lee Graham, Tania Adbi, Brian Caldewell and Lin And Larry Pardy.  There a too many to list but they all have one thing in common, simple voyages on salty little pocket cruisers, small is beautiful.

  
Today will be spent in front of the fire with a glass of whiskey and good company.  My sketch book has been out all weekend trying to sort provisions, where to add the new heater and water tanks and for the umpteenth time diving into electronic navigation to aid my paper charts.

  
All boats are not created equally and I feel fortunate to have one with a true full keel and a stern hung rudder the two most crucial elements when it comes to my personal choice for safety and reliability.  My last three boats have had stern hung rudders and I wouldn’t consider anything else for my personal needs.

  
Fitting two people into such a tiny space is not and will never be easy which is why I chose a boat with an outboard engine as opposed the a good solid diesel which I often find my self desiring, every inch of interior storage counts.  Somehow in my misaligned mind I still want a Bristol Channel Cutter 28 and there is one patently waiting for me but I just can’t push the button so for now all my efforts are going into Sookie.

  
She’s 95% perfect as she sits and with a lot of hard work and a little luck I will finish all of her minor changes including a soft privacy door for her v-berth incase somebody wants to stay up late or sleep the day away..I haven’t chosen a gimballed stove yet but alcohol is looking like it will be my choice but a nice little propane burner is a very close second.  A new larger, sun/rain awning for the cockpit and lots of little racks in the galley for spice and oils to keep everything at hand.  I will top it all off with a small solar panel and an LED tricolor bulb.  All interior lights will remain incadesnt because I can’t stand the horrible light of LED for her cozy interior.

  
By the end of the season Sookie will be 100% off grid and ready for any adventure we choose, warm or cold.  I’ll be removing small bits of her interior storage to make a little more and a more comfortable space but nothing major.

  
This year I will also finally complete her lifelines bringing them all the way to the stern of the boat with lee cloths to lean into for complete relaxation under sail or on the hook.  The little refinements will make a huge differences on this tiny little platform. 

  
There is a space for everything on this little ship, by design Lyle Hess created a masterpiece in minimalism but what more could you expect from a designer after 50 years of designing boats for other people Sookie is a product of design for himself.  She is slow wet and tender, just like I like her.

And after two days in civilization we realized we could never stay for long and started to plan our next adventure.- Bob Bitchin (Letters from the Lost Soul)

Brompton Diary

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I can’t imagine anything better in life than a day on my little Brompty.  I had all sorts of errands to run and while I have a big new SUV at my disposal the Brompton was calling my name.  I rode the path along the rivers edge into town.  Two bike shops a cup of coffee, a little mingling and showing of my folding steed and lots of window shopping at my local REI.

I stopped at the university for a cold beer and more show and tell, I love Eugene and all of its hippie weirdness.  Back on the trail I worked my way back to the winery to end my day with a bit of live music and a glass of my favorite Cab.  Riding my little  Brompty is just about the most fun I can imagine, smiling from ear to ear, the wind on my face and a nice beer from the local microbrew set the weekend buzz into motion.  I swear there are days when I just want to mount this little girl and Ride her forever. I wonder how long it would take to ride her around the world, not that I would be in a hurry.

Little Sookie is only half the package, she gets me there and provides a roof over my head but once I arrive my two wheeled chariot shows me the sights, makes new friends and adds one more memory to the bank.  I’m excited to explore every inch of the islands but for now this quirky little town always has something new to offer.  Winter riding is a far cry from the lazy summer days I spent exploring this town by bike in the hundred degree balmy winds but winter in the PNW isn’t really winter.


She’s all cleaned up and ready for a weekend at the coast.  I envision fresh eggs and bacon, a hot latte and a fire place to warm my frozen bones between rides to here, there and everyehere. I’ve got good tunes in the iPhone, my tiny bag is packed and I don’t have anywhere to be till Tuesday.  Life is good when you have a bike…


As a kid I had a dream – I wanted to own my own bicycle. When I got the bike I must have been the happiest boy in Liverpool, maybe the world. I lived for that bike. Most kids left their bike in the backyard at night. Not me. I insisted on taking mine indoors and the first night I even kept it in my bed. ~ John Lennon, The

My Brain Hurts

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When I was 13 my eighth grade English teacher gave us a writing assignment to describe what we wanted to be when we grew up.  I wrote about freedom, she gave me an F and told me that I didn’t understand the assignment and offered me a chance to rewrite it for a better grade.  I suggested that she didn’t understand the assignment and offered her another chance to re-read my paper and earn a bit of my respect.  I kept the F she lost my respect and while I moved on in life she is still there handing out assignments she will never understand.

  
What you do for a living isn’t what you are, or who you are, it’s simply how you have chosen to exchange your youth for money, a good trade in many eyes and mine for sure at one point in my life.  We are all alloted a certain amount of days on this earth from birth to death and every one of us is free to choose how we want to spend them.  Unless of course you choose to live your life as a free man or woman.  An example is even though I’m paying cash for my property and will own it outright, I don’t actually own it.  The county won’t let me build my house, it is illegale because it is too small.   We say we own our homes but we don’t and not only do we not own them but we arent even allowed to do what we want with them.  This just one of many things that are seriously pissing me off this week, I’ll try and not go on an entire diatribe about it. Right, good luck with that one.

Simplicity means many things to many people.  To me it means Not having a bank account, not having an address, not having a phone although I actually do have one this month but only because I have a guest coming to visit and need it to coordinate logistics.   I don’t have any bills other than boat yard storage.  I’m sure my life is far to simple but I just have better things to do with my time than chase paper.  Today I received my first and conceivably my last paycheck of the year.  You’d think I would be out buying a new pair of shoes since I have none but I’m not.  I’m not buying socks to keep my feet warm or even booze.  I’ve grown very accustomed to my sandals and what they represent, what my unshaven face represents and what my man scent represents,  that right I don’t wear deodorant and some people think I stink.  I live in a world with very few rules and because of it I am the weird one. I’m weird because I’m not trading the best years of my life for funny little pieces of green paper, signing 30 year contracts with neat little amortized payments equaling 200% of the borrowed amount.  I don’t fit in because I’m not paying every one of my bills on a credit card only to be payed at a later date with double digit interest.  Many even consider me a loser because I’m not leasing a car I could never afford to pay cash for only to impress the parking attendant at the restaurant that takes my credit card, or the security guard at the job I spend 60 hours a week working at plus a multi hour daily commute to pay for the house I can’t afford and never get to see because every time I get a few days off out comes the credit card so I can take a vacation away from the house that is literally costing me the best years of my life.  I’ve never once wanted to take a vacation away from my sailing life.

The life I lead is a free one, even free enough to write massive run on sentences with abandon simply because I can.  You see, it all goes back to that teacher that tried to brainwash me with an idea of something that doesn’t exist, extort me with bad grades and bully me by sending me to the principals office.  Is it any wonder we live is such a fucked up world  when our children a being taught  by this system only to come home to empty homes because both of the parents are working just to get by?

This little blog has been good to me, over the years it has opened all manor of opportunities and the biggest and best just this week.  A real rock solid dream opportunity for money, minor fame and celebrity but it was also an opportunity to do something that I would love very much.  It also came with rules and stipulations, for one this blog which created the opportunity would have to go away and be completely re written and edited not only for language but   content and context.  I really did flip that coin both figuratively and literally.  I watched it spin and fall through a bottomless crack.  I will never know what could have been, not only was the answer gone but so was all of my money.  The door is now closed forever and I can never look back . But what does a coin toss have to do with making well thought out logical choices?  I wanted to see what the univers was telling me before making my own sound or depending on how you look at it rash descision.

I could easily have had them send the final contracts to my agent,  signed them and had an opportunity that millions of people would literally kill for.  It would have come at a cost of selling myself out and going back to 8th grade and admitting defeat.  That’s  right, I said no and with those simple words fucked up yet another opportunity to sell out and make my life easy and comfortable.  The thing I’m learning though all this is that I’m that guy, the one that Fucks everything up, it’s my strength, my superpower.  Some people write about how to get money,  love, power, knowlegde.  I write about nothing but in the process of Forrest Gumping my way through life and literally fucking up every single thing I touch I have found my voice.  I’m not following someone else’s dream.  I’m not trying to emulate a Book I read or a blog or a trendy lifestyle.  What I’m doing is living my life, it’s me and it’s truly authentic.  The thing is even though I’m a royal fuck up I’m truly happy with my life.  Very few people in the is world can say that but it’s true, I wake up happy, I live happy I go to sleep happy.  Coming from a person who suffers from depression this is a pretty good thing.  So yeah I’ll fuck up some more stuff and continue to write about it.  My simple life is one of freedom and while I doubt many would want to live this life it’s the one I’ve chosen, freedom that is, yes it’s a choice just like happiness.  for fucks sake, if I can do it anybody can.

“So we shall let the reader answer this question for himself: who is the happier man, he who has braved the storm of life and lived or he who has stayed securely on shore and merely existed?” 

― Hunter S. Thompson

Moby Dick

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How often in our life’s do true one in million opportunities arise.  We all have that simple choice to accept it or walk away and never know what the future would have been.

White Whale

Captain Ahab had his whites whale, we all have our own.  I’ve come to a fork in the road, I have put my faith in the simple act of tossing a coin. Heads or tails, either way a new destination will be revealed.  Once a choice has been made there is no point in looking back.  I’ve never given up on a golden opportunity and I never will.  I watch the coin slowly spinning in suspended animation, it hits, spins and lands…

Cool Clean Water

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My second day in Maui walking in the morning sun I thought I was hallucinating.  Walking towards me was a beautiful girl draped in a short white translucent gown.  A light rain driven by 80 degree balmy winds and the backlighting from the early sun made this a perfect scene.  She followed her pet pig to me and a new friendship was formed.
From Argentina she was a close talker, laud and exaggerated. Arms flailing in the wind we both shard the same excitement for life. I would later learn that she is a famous raw food specialist.  Sitting on the porch of her bungalow, wind howling and a full moon rising she pored me a smoothie and handed me her joint.  I’m not a pot smoker but when in Rome…I could feel my body being charged by the magical elixire.  Maui could have been the perfect get away and in many ways was but timing is everything and I really had no interest in being there at the time.  Now so far removed, my tan still lingering but fading with each new day I wonder when it is that I will go back to the jungles of Hawaii, I can already hear her calling my name.


I’ve been in detox for a decade from corperate America and suspect it may be another decade before both my mind and body have healed from the toxicity of that way of life.  Living in the city I can feel my body slowly dying, traffic, angry people everywhere and the convenience of processed food on every corner and every channel of a TV I seem to watch daily even though I haven’t found the need for one in over a dozen years.  That raw food diet that she raved about every day glowed on her fresh soft skin, it emulated in her bright smile and radiated off of her sun kissed body.

One thing for sure a partial raw food diet is in the making in my life once I have recaptured it, once I have escaped the madness.  I have a fist full of recepeis and will start to experiment with my own when I return to Sookie.  I’m doing ok with my quitting smoking and research is telling me that smoking a hand rolled oorganic ciggi every time I get the urge for niccotine will help curve the craving and perhaps break the bond once and for all.

All I really know is that I’ve been blessed genetically and feel that my physical has room to grow.  Years ago I was dragged into the forrest by a band of gypsy girls, they named me Stormy and told me of a long journey I would soon be on.  A huge part of me was killed on my little beach in Hawaii, the part of me that I never needed or wanted. Society in general takes its toll on us but it doesn’t mean we can’t find a new home, a new way of living and a new life.  That little beach taught me and provided me with everything I need emotionally in life and while the jungle was hard on me, it also taught me what I don’t need.  I write few notes in my journal, the last line reads, there is time for everything in this life when it’s the right time. I smile when I think about that little beach knowing full well I can recreate it anywhere I want at anytime I choose. It was that little beach that taught me that the fight I’ve been fighting for so many years wasn’t at all what I thouht it was.  Now I see my battle has always been for freedom and not being tied down”….

Do not believe what your eyes are telling you. All they show is limitation. Look with your understanding, find out what you already know, and you’ll see the way to fly.” R. Bach

Xtratuf Dispelling The Myths

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There has been a lot of talk and negative hype over the last few years with Xtratuf moving to China.  It recently spilled over to this site so I’m going to nip it in the bud right here and now.

Xtratuf

When any company is forced to move off shore it’s a sad day but not a bad thing. The alternative is doubling the price and going bankrupt.  Or continuing to lose money hand over fist and going bankrupt.

Xtratuf

When Xtratuf moved to China they didn’t do it for their bottom line, they did it for us.  Unfortunately the way of made in the USA has gone away for the most part.  A clear example is my $30.00 day pack that cost nearly $150.00 because it was made in the USA.

Xtratuf

I don’t like buying shit from China but when I have to I will, case in point my Xtratufs.  The ones I have were literally the last pair of size nine for sale in the free world.  When I kill them I will happily replace them with the Chinese version.

Xtratuf

I say happily because they are not. Just  a pair of rubber boots, they are a way of life, a best friend and literally a piece of who I am.  I should also note that for me there is little in this world that I find to be more sexy than a girl in her Xtratufs.

Xtratuf

I have purchased serveral pairs over the years that were made in Chna including a pair of size seven just this week.  They are made from the exact same materials, the only difference I can see is that they have much better workmanship than the ones did that were made in America.

Xtratuf

Sure they had a few growing pains in the beginning but coming from a person who has done manufacturing in China I can tell you that at first it’s a real uphill battle.ixtratuf

I hate to say it but I have made peace with overseas Xtratufs, we can’t win them all but if you want mine you will have to pry them off of my cold dead feet.

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Not only are they great for tromping though all manor of miserable mushy squishy banks but they are hands down the best sailing boot on the planet earth and the most comfortable. The second the weather turns snotty my tufs go on.  Every beach run and there are hundreds when you have a pooch that needs regular potty breaks, is done in my Xtratufs.  I literally wear them everywhere.  Last year in Canada everyone kept coming up to me and wanting my boots, I guess you can’t get them north of the border.

Xtratufs

I can’t come up with a single complaint about these boots but this is just my two cents which is all it’s worth.  If you have the means I highly suggest you get a pair.

Disclaimer; I am not affiliated with the Xtratuf boot company in a my way shape or form.

 

I’m With Stupid

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In about three weeks I will start my pilgrimage back to Sookie my little man cave and eventually back to Friday Harbor.  Unless a miricle happens Sookie is going straight back into the water, her new epoxy coat will have to wait till next year.  The plan was to have her in Port Townsend by last September but the finest laid plans of mice and men often go astray.

Galley wench

Her heat and windvane are ready to be installed, bits and pieces of rigging measured and ready to be ordered and one new sail, an asym is ready to be cut.  It’s been busy around here and now I need to prioritize my list.  If I was 25 I could push her out today and sail her anywhere but I’ve grown lazy and cautious as my days roll on.  The dumbest thing I could do is just point her to Canada and blow off yet another season of work and I wonder if that’s just what I will do. Either way I have a few months to figure it out but I just can’t stand the thought of not sailing north for the summer.  Last year it was painfully difficult caring for Chloe and even leaving her on the boat for short bits to go for a hike had my stomach in knots.  That girl could get herself into quite a bit of trouble on the boat.  This year it will be different, I don’t have to worry about weather or time my crossings for potty breaks.  I don’t have to worry about what would happen in a worse case sinerio if the boat was lost,  getting a frail dog into a crappy rubber dink in storm conditions with angry rocky shores…  There is a lot of safety planing and strategy when you have little paws to care for.  This year I’m free of all of it so a different shipbord plan will be in order, more hiking, more exploring and more pushing little Sookie in the rough stuff. Sea trials are one of my favorite things and also a very important step in learning how far this little ship can be pushed.

It’s grey and cold today, I didn’t go for my morning ride, another day of my life I will never get back.  I sit in silence wondering if I will do the right think, suck it up find work and finish the boat or just say fuck it and go sailing.  I can’t image where this year will find me but I’m with stupid so anything can happen.  I look across at my pile of newly aquired winter clothing, it’s going to be damn cold on the boat when I get there with no heat and I will have to sneak around as I’m not allowed to stay on the boat in the boatyard.  I have to be patient, a new adventure is in the making and it will start right where the last one ended, on a little piece of freedom I like to call Sookie.

Mi Casa Es Su Casa

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Living in a greedy world of me, me, me, mine, mine, mine, must be the loneliest planet in the solar system.  A new generation has developed where it seems everybody is out for them selfs.  I say it seems because it’s not true.  Stranded on a desert island I was introduced to more love and support than mere words  could ever describe.  Paying it foreward is tough when you have little more than words to offer.  My last good deed before saying my goodbyes to the geckos and palms was to give away my most prised  possession,  my ukulele.

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I felt a surge of pain when I handed it over which told me I was doing the right thing, to give freely is the greatest gift we can ever possess.  I see two kinds of people in this world, the givers and the takers.  They say that misery loves company and I see it every day miserable, whining, complaining unhappy people always looking to buy and sell their way to happiness, I run from them like the Plague. I’m sad to say but If it isn’t in your heart it will never manifest in your life.  Eventually we all get back what we put out there, karma is a bitch.

Walking through the marina I see so many neglected dreams, these boats once powerful and proud now filthy run down and necgelted.  Is  it a sign of our greed, that once we obtain something it no longer matters to us? Maybe the dream if far different than the reality.  Boat ownership isn’t a shiny article or a few data bites on a blog post, it’s a full time job, on top of a full time, job on top of a full time job.

When I adopted Sookie, I new full well what I was getting into, not only time wise but also the mamoth amount of money that would need to be generated to bring her back into her full glory.  I didn’t do it for myself though, well on many levels I did but every step of the way I knew I was building her for a second set of bare feet that would eventually pitter patter across her decks.  She is my master and my servant but also my writing platform and calling card.  She is my way of giving back to all the sailing writers who carried me through those cold snowy land locked winters when at times I felt like I would never achieve the simple life of living aboard and sailing a well found pocket cruiser.  She is my way of paying it foreward by sharing my life aboard, the ups and downs, in complete and naked honesty.

I’ve never once asked for anything for myself through this blog and I doubt I ever will but I will be putting my hand out in the very near future.  I’m sitting on a book that again is in re write but soon enough I will call it good enough for government work.  It will be a life long process as it has taken me an entire lifetime to gain the knowledge to write it and it will be continually updated. You see them everywhere sailors parroting bad and inaccurate advice either never learned or learned from the wrong person.  I’ve been fortunate enough to have been gifted a dozen generations of knowledge from some of the greatest sailors and boat builds on the planet earth, something that needs to be shared and I will, it’s time to pay it foreward.

If I see one more book or blog post telling you, you can buy a half sunk boat and sail it around the world, or a crappy production day sailor and circumnavigate I think I might actually go postal.  These people are writing to pad their own bottom line and or their ego suggesting you do what that they more than likely have not and never would do because they know how incredibly fucking stupid it would be.  Some of them do practice what they preach but as prossional mariners they have the skills to do this, suggesting that a newbie can do what they do is down right dangerous.  I continually ask myself who I am writing for and the answer is always myself, but my bottom line isn’t padding my bank account, it’s simply sharing one of the gazillions of ways to do things in this life.

So I’m searching for the best animal rescue on the planet.  When the book is done it will be given freely in digital format to those who donate to my charity.  This may seen greedy but I figure if you can’t afford to donate you can’t afford to buy your first boat and that’s what the book is.   A very simple guide to buying your fist boat with dozens of real life examples  of success and failure I have whitenesed first hand including my own.  Hundreds of links and photographs.  This book dispels all the myths out there.  There is far too much fiction in the sailing world, this little book will demistify the process and it’s written so a seven year old can understand it.  When it comes to sharing knowledge Mi Casa Es Su Casa, ask and you shall receive…

Living Well Without A Car

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It’s been six or seven years now since I committed to living a car free existence.  I honestly didn’t think I would make it a single week but now so many years have passed I can’t even remember.  I can’t imagine how much money it has saved me but it easily pard for my little boat.  My goal this year is to use less than 3 gallons of fuel in my little outboard although if it runs or doesn’t run like it did last year I won’t use more than a pint.

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My trusty little Brompton sits in the corner patently waiting for our next adventure and it will be here soon enough.  Our tour of Maui is only a distant memory as my tan slowly fades but she proved her worth ten times over and has earned a permanite spot on little Sookie.  In over 700 miles she never let me down.

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Somehow between all the things I have planned this year I have promised her a solid month long tour before the end of the summer and who knows what warm winter paradise we will find when the PNW is frozen over.  We both learned a lot during our month long stay in the Hawaiian islands and will use that knowledge to improve upon next years trip, Cuba if I have all my ducks in a row.

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Living the simple life isn’t just good for the soul, its also very easy on the pocket book.  Somewhere half way up the side of Mt Haleakala bitching and moaning at the freezing rain a car stopped and offered me a ride.  I smiled and declined, thanks but I’m here on vacation, cars remind me too much of work.  They thought me as crazy as I thought them.  Bikes will get you anywhere you choose to go and the best part is you can eat all the pizza and chocolate you like ang never gain a pound.   I’ve said it before, nothing in the world makes me smile the way I do when I’m riding my little Brompty.

Bug Out Boat

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Some call it hoarding but I call it provisioning.  I love stocking the boat with everything from booze to snacks, at least four months worth at a minimum.  I take my empty pack every few days looking for bargains on all my favorite foods. Crunchy foods, salty foods, sweets and everything I between.  Sookie makes for a perfect buyout boat and that’s my big Delema this year.

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She has been sitting in storage and her hull should be nice and dry by now or at least close.  I owe her a new epoxy bottom coat but it can’t be done where she sits.  If I ever want to take her to warmer waters it’s a must but comes with a drying penalty of at least 6 months,.  If she is not completely dry not only will it not help her but rapidly accelerate the process.  Far to many brainwashed surveyors over look hydrolysis but it’s an unseen killer and their evil Malloy won’t find it. The older the boat the worse the problem.  I have actually seen clean vertical splits right at the bulkhead through every layer of glass.

So for me the on going question is when and where will I do my bottom job.  I can’t do it where she sits so that would mean trailering her to Bellingham for half the project and then trailering her to Port Toensend to finish her up.  While I’m there I can install her new wind vane and heater having all the tools I could ask for and a very special tribe of hard core sailors to play with while I’m in the neighborhood.  If I don’t do it this year than means Sookie will have to be layed up again next year and that would suck having her ready for anything and in the boatyard.

its hard to choose when I can just splash her and head north but all this playing is catching up to my future which is starting to get impatient.  In theory I could take her to Laz Paz and do the work there but I’ve started in on my fun list and really want to have everything I need at my finger tips.  It’s during these scheduled refits that I thank my lucky stars I don’t have an inboard engine and all the headache and cost they bring to the table not to mention the smell and wasted space which brings me back to food.  They say you can buy food anywhere and you can unless you don’t have any money.  Stocking my little boat to the brim means I can bug out anytime I feel the need without a care in the world and that’s wher my brain is. It also means I can throw every cent I earn for months at a time into doing her up right, it’s a nice little insurance policy. Do I bug out and play or finish this last heinous project.  I suspect my living situation will decide for me as I have nowhere to live but the boat and can’t live in the boatyard so…yes all first world problems but hey, I’m a first world type of guy.

Buying The Farm

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For years I have been toying with the idea of building a hobby farm to winter over on and rent out during the summer seasons and support my voysging ways.  While their is no such thing as sustainable living their is a more sustainable living.  I have decided to build my first of what will be serveral tiny homes on a working farm.  A place to do my winter writing and for the new puppy that will eventually join the mix to run and play, I can’t see life without a furry companion at my side.

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I’ve been reading Controlled Jibe for years now, always wondering how they find the energy to work so hard, now its my time to find out.  Goats for milk, chickens for eggs and as many gardens and fruit trees as I can fit on my tiny piece of nirvana.  None of the animals will ever be for eating but all will provide enough food with pleanty to spare for the food bank.  I envision the Hobbits Shire and am looking for a sunny rolling and tiered property.  The entire farm will be organic meaning no power tools of any kind and all produce will be delivered behind my Brompton on a trailer.  I spent countless hours on my little beach in Hawaii making drawings for what I was hoping to build in those islands but instead have decided to build in the San Juan’s where I can always have Sookie standing by to escape north to the BC coast during the spring when my only company will be the Eagles.  I don’t ever want to get on a plane again unless I’m sitting left seat.

A wood fired jacuzzi in the green house and an outdoor covered kitchen with a large fire pit will be the heart and soul of the farm with a tent cabin and hot outdoor shower for guests.  As much as I love the sea I need my dirt time for now, and this will give my bare feet all the dirt they need while giving me enough propose and hard work to keep me forever young.  I’ve traveled enough to know the San Jaun Islands are by far the safest place on earth and fully capable of creating the most sustainable living I can.  It’s also a world away from the insanity that is going on across the straits on the mainland.  The world is on fire and will only grow more and more angry but the shire will be a small safe haven from the masses of zombies.  I hope to find my property by spring, all are welcome to come for a visit and relax, drink my wine and even bang a few nails or milk the goats if you feel like getting your hands dirty.  People are always saying the apocalypse is coming, it’s already here friends.  It’s time to create a reasonable life somewhere between the surf and turf.  

About Me

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In early 2011 I got a call telling me my divorce was final and that I was a free man.  I didn’t want to be a free man but those were the cards I was dealt.  I shed a tear, looked into the mirror and said out loud, it’s time to move on.  I picked up the Phone and called my title agent asking her to close on my Falmouth Cutter. After paying for the boat I had less than a hundred bucks in my life savings.  Sookie arrived on April 2nd, she had no electricity and the next day it started to snow. That first week was the coldest I can remember and I loved every second of it.

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I got a message from Wordpss today telling me I had 300,000 visits in 2015 and the best day of the year saw 1,768 visitors.  I guess my private journal isn’t so private anymore.  On July 28th 2013 I cut the dock lines with a half finished boat, after dozens of frustrating failed attempts.  I didn’t have a single penny to my name, no credit cards or golden parachute of any kind.  I haven’t gone very far, I’m still bouncing around these wonderful islands but Sookie now has thousands of miles under her keel.

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I found myself half way to Alaska this year with a disalusioned crew and sick dog I turned around and made a B-line home, packed the boat and rushed to my family vet, there was nothing I could do to save her so I made her as comfortable as I could till my best friend died in my arms.  I’m still heart broken, depressed and most of all very lonely.  I spent the last year of her life carrying her in my arms, her little head resting on my shoulder.

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im not ready for this new found freedom I have but its time to take another look in the mirror and once again it’s time to move on.  The pang of lonlieness fills my days but it’s better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.  I can’t say where my next journey through life will take me but I know whenever I go it will be done knowing I have given every ounce of dedication I have to get this far.

There have been so many times that I have wanted to throw in the towel and just quit but I would only be cheating myself out of the life I have worked so hard to create.  2016 will be my 5 year anniversary with Sookie and I wonder, where does the time go.  I got one of my frequent hate mails today telling me I’m I spoiled trustaffarian loser, a shitty writer and undeserving of my boat.  It went on to tell me how much I suck and that every girl will leave me just like the last. I smiled when I deleted it and wondered why more people don’t just take a chance in this world and be happy.  Hate will slowly poison your empty soul.

I wonder who all those peering eyes are out there, it sure would be nice if you said hello and feel free to leave a link to your blog if you have one.  It’s lonely around here and I sure could use the company today.

Water Tribe

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I’ve hit my breaking point, I can’t take it any longer.  Living on the edge of existence in the jungle was pure  raw living at its best.  My life has grown stagnant to no end, I’m being mentally retarded by television.  I grow stupider every day, I can feel my strength fading along with my tan.  My life has gone easy to an extent I can not accept.  Im literally dying , suffocating like a fish out of water.

  
I feel guilty every day, I have a huge house, more food than I could ever eat, heat, hot water I’m living an upper middle class existence most don’t even know exists.  There is no challenge, no reason to live.  I meet available single girls every day, they throw themselves at me, I want to vomit, they are so empty and shallow.  The city is bitter, it’s cold and it’s half dead like a zombie.  I’ve created my own prison.  I miss Sookie like a long lost lover, it hurts in my heart. The air is toxic, I’m lost, I think I’m dying…

I am not a man,  I am a wild animal that is hungry for raw meat, the hunt, the chase, I am wild, trapped in a cage and it’s a dangerous place, this zoo.  Living on the threshold naked in the jungle my skin tingled, my eyes sharp, my thin muscled body strong, I was the top of the food chain, I take what I want when I want it.  I hunted the reef with no mask snorkel or fins, my eyes trained to see clear in the salt water I swam with the Sharks, they were my brothers.

My fists are like clubs, nicknamed Tom and Jerry they will always get me out of a scrape, they pull me up coconut trees and pry loose the fresh tender meat of the green nuts.  I am a hunter, a warrior, a scout and a chef… I am wild.

I can feel my life source draining from my soul, without the beach I have no strength, the edge is my home, the edge of the sea, the edge of the shore the edge of life.  There are no storms to fight, I just close the door.  There are no fires to light, I just flip a switch, there is no struggle and without struggle life ceases to exist.

In this safe simple life, my writing is shit, there is no story for tomorrow, no reason to live.  I don’t want safety.  I don’t want security. I don’t want any of this.  Am I the last of the Mohicans, are there no more wild children of the earth?  I need a new tribe, a water tribe.

How To Buy A Sailboat

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As a yacht broker I would run into them every day, that guy wanting a 50k boat for free. I doubt a single week has passed since starting this blog over a dozen years ago without getting an email asking how to buy a boat. I would never say that I’m a great sailor but my collective sea miles are enough to wrap the planet earth a few times. You can’t spend that much time at sea without learning a thing or two or forming some pretty strong opinions.

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There are many types of sailors out there.  I think the armchair sailor is the wisest of all.  Their passion for the sea, boats and all things sailing is as strong as all of ours.  Enthusiasm garnered by years of reading sailing books, sailing blogs and sailing forums these sailors all have their fantasies met through others and often find as much or even more enjoyment as the reality of boat ownership will never be their burden.

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Another type is the doer, they just went out and did it, let’s face it, boats arent. rocket science.  Anything can be fixed or replaced if you throw enough money and time at it,  San Juan Sufficiency is a classic example and Chris has literally written a book through his blog on it.  He wasn’t just financially challenged when he bought his boat, he was in deficit.  He is a get your hands dirty and fix things type of guy, let’s face most new by boat owners are not which would explain the boat yards of shattered dreams littered across America.

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I’ve done everything from building boats from a pile of glass and buckets of resin to complete bottom up resterations.  You will find these guys in every boat yard across the country doing an endless boat yard rebuild, for them it’s about the process not about the boat and many if not most will never use their boat for its intended porpoise.  I remember working in the boatyard one day when a girl pulled in to take ownership of her Cal 25 that she had owned for a week, it was a train wreck and she had half a dozen guys tripping all over them selfs trying to get a piece of the pie all giving really bad advice and all claiming they were pro’s.  A year later that boat was still in the yard with a for sale sign never having touched the water, it simply was too much for her limited skills not to mention all the damage done by her would be suitors.

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When it comes to buying your first boat it’s easy.  Figure out your budget and I can assure you the purchase price will be the smallest denomination you will spend in the process.  Figure out your intended purpose, don’t buy a Catalina 30 as a trailer sailor or w Catalina 22 as a winter live aboard. Look at a thousand boats while sailing on every type imaginable in the process and then buy the one you fancy.  It won’t be perfect but it will be yours to have and to hold till death do you part.  No boat is perfect, not even a new one.  I’ve owned more than a dozen boats and sailed on over a thousand over the years, I love them all but only one fits my life, figure out what you need but more importantly where you need that boat as they are expensive to ship, then buy the damn boat.

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That year you spent agonizing over finding the perfect boat would have been better spent sailing your kinda perfect boat.  One thing you are more than likely to learn after a year of sailing that dresm boat is that it’s the exact opposite of what you thought you needed because you let someone else guide you into the dreams they never fulfilled.  If you really want a sailboat, can afford not only the money but the time then just do it, what could you possibly have to lose.

Papeete

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I grabbed a hand full of charts off Sookie and rushed to catch the ferry.  I hate leaving these islands, a world away from everywhere  they have always been my safe spot.  My search continues,  to collect every chart from here to Panama and beyond, it’s time to think about moving on.

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today I realized my short list is completely obtainable, even on my miserable budget.  I rechecked all my notes, the must haves, the I wish I hads and the have nots.  I sent an email offering to buy a used wind vane and patiently await the reply.  I sent a second letter and wonder if I will hear back.

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Most people don’t consider a 22′ sailboat to be blue water capable but I am not most people.  My voyages in a stock Seaquest 26 at the age of 18 proved that any boat will do if you have what it takes to point your bow in the direction you desire. My first passage was solo and engineless, without self steering or even a single chart for that matter but as far as blue water passages go and I’ve made many, it was my most memorable for countless reasons.

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Sitting next to the fire place with a bottomless glass of Cab it’s easy to ensivion the possibilities of long term voyaging on a budget of $500.00 a month.  I’ve easily done short term voyages on less.  Hawaii taught me a great many things most of all that I’d rather suffer a bit doing the things I truly love than live a safe easy life being bored out of my fucking mind.  I’m easy I’ll eat anything you put in front of me, sleep in my foulies on the cabin sole, sit in a freezing cockpit for hours on end and you will never hear the slightest complaint out of me, never.  I love life and living it more than any words could possibly explain.  My glass isn’t half full it’s overflowing.

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it isn’t about the boat and it never will be, she isn’t even mine; I gave her away last year.  It isn’t about the adventure or the places I go.  I love all the people I meet but it isn’t about them either.  It has little to do with the different cultures or wonderful foods.  It isnt about accomplishing something or crossing items off of a list.  It’s about one thing and one thing only, living a truly authentic life.  When an early and traumatic death came to visit me in the form of a tidal wave I didn’t have one fucking  regret in this life.  Wanting things is easy but making them real is even easier.  One of my favorite quotes by one of my favorite sailors, go small, go simple, go now.  Id one up that by saying go when your ready able and willing.

The Simple Sailor

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You can’t fit a 10 pound parcel into a two pound sack.  On my most recent trip up to Sookie for a gear swap I didn’t even recognize her sitting in full glory in the boat yard she seemed huge and she is for a 22′ sailboat.  Drop her in the water and she fits like a glove with the right amount of everything she is by far the worlds largest pocket cruiser when it comes to neatly packing everything away.  I can load a few thousand pounds of gear and stores in her and still have room for two sets of Xtratufs.  She has room for everything I need and nothing I don’t.

Sookie is one of the only FC 22’s built straight from Lyle Hess’s drawing board.  From her double lower shrouds to her massive interior storage she is a working work of art but all boats have their size limitations.  The new iPad isn’t as much as a physical size reduction as it is one on her electronic footprint.  With a little bit of conservation Sookie can go a full month between charges and at some point solar will find its way aboard the boat completely freeing me from that electrical ambilical cord that keeps me paying prime marina rates year round in the islands.

The iPad is a test to see if I can use a bit of technology to ease the burden all around.  Rowing to shore in a blow with 5k worth of computers and camera gear is just another in the day of the life of a sailing blogger but it also represents my annual salary where accidentally going for a swim could shut me down.

I think the only downfall of owning a traditional sailboat other that the constant wood work is that it’s virtually impossible to add anything to the deck without destroying her beautiful lines.  On Sookie it’s more about keeping her electronic systems to a minimum although I hate to use the word simple as there is nothing simple about outfitting a small boat.  In essence I still need all the things the next guys does but on a pocket cruiser they just need to be smaller and more efficient.  Fitting it all in can not only ruin the looks of the boat but also how she sails.

I do my best to keep her ends light which makes a huge difference on how she drives and runs. Adding an outboard, steering vane, fuel tank and two adults can throw the whole balance off causing her to hobby horse as did her 75lb bronze windlass and 200′ of chain all stuffed in over her hollow bow which took away her beautiful sailing characteristics.  I went to a lighter more efficient anchor, removed the windlass and shortened her chain.  One season on our new three strand shows the effects of oyster covered anchorages on those windless nights but it’s also the swing radius when you have out 150 feet of line and 15′ tidal fall, rope takes much more care than an all chain rode to keep the boat from visiting your neighbors in the middle of the night.   Every year I try something different and eventually I’ll  find that middle ground.  The bottom line is if you can’t live a minimalist lifestyle you will need a larger boat.

Last year found Sookie ready to sail anywhere I point her bow for the first time since starting this whole project.  Now the fun starts as I can work on performance and add a bit of luxury to her cozy little foot print.  As always when I find a new boat first I make her safe, then I make her comfortable, then I make her pretty.  Nearly five years going without has really taught me what I need and what I don’t.  She will never have a depth sounder, radar, refrigeration… I simply don’t need these things and there is always a safer and simpler alternative such as my lead line.  An over the side canvase beer bucket, drop it low enough and you will find cold water even in the tropics.  The “cedar bucket” has been upgraded to a plastic and still remains infalable, paper charts and a hand bearing compass tell me exactly how deep my water is, there is always a safe simple way.  I think technology is a good thing but it has in a large part taken the process of sailing and navigation out of our lives. I enjoy my hank on sails.  The challenge of navigation keeps me active on the boat and also keeps us safer as there is a fear factor when coming into an unknown anchorage that makes us slow down, gives time to communicate and ultimately makes the boat safer and more seaworthy as compasses and paper  charts don’t fail if you take care of them.

In all the world I don’t know any greater joy than bringing a hard passage to an end.  Ghosting down wind in dead silence, finding that perfect spot to drop the hook.  The feel of chain slipping through my calloused hands and the sound it makes rattling through the chain pipe.  The bite of the hook as Sookie slowly rounds into the wind and I am safe for another night, my whole world gently bobbing on a half inch of string.  Every passage long or short ends with a beer, sitting on the scuttle hatch visually exploring my new surroundings.  There is a freedom in this life that can’t be explained with words, it can only be tasted by a tested crew.  If you think sailing is boring throw your engine overboard and unplug your batteries.  You surely will discover that it is the most challenging and exciting sport in the planet earth.  It’s through sailing that I have found the fountain of youth.

Best Sailing Blogs 2016

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I can hardly believe  2015 is already coming to a close.  It feels like just yesterday that I was lacing in my new lee cloths, mounting new lifeline stanchions and tapping in the last fiddly bits to finish Sookies reefing system.  Splicing in her bow net was the last project before slapping on s quick coat of paint and varnish and cutting the dock lines. My favorite post of the year was top sailing blogs of 2015, it opened a gold mine of sailings resources so again I’m hoping you guys will share the magic with me. P
I have a feeling the best sailing stories go untold as blogging while actually out sailing is virtually impossible.  My most recent sailing journal barely found half a dozen posts over the 75 day journey.  I’m putting the whole story together in digital format and it will be available soon. Until then if you have any little secret nuggets of love please share them to keep me going while I get Sookie ready for a new season of everything from day sailing to blue water voyaging.

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I backed out of the Dana after one sea trial, she was an amazing ship but just didn’t sing and dance the way Sookie does.  I don’t know what magic Spell Lyle Hess Cast in this little boat but sailing her is like dancing through the sky on a magic carpet.  At 22′ and 5.12 net tones she is small for sure.  I find myself walking that very fine line, I can’t afford to keep her and I can’t afford to let her go.  The search continues for the one and only thing keeping me from sailing into the sunset, a proper wind vane, I just may have to make my own.

Looking out across the valley I wonder where I’ll be this time next month.  Santa brought me a thick fuzzy red jacket but no shoes, he must be telling me that I’m not going to need them any time in the near future.  My tan is slowly fading but that is only temporary, my sea bag is packed and patiently waiting but there is much to do before I hop on Brompty and start the long pedal north.  It’s almost time to go home.

https://alotofthingsbutnothinginparticular.wordpress.com/

http://www.staygold-acrossthepacific.com/blog/

https://smallboatbigworld.wordpress.com/2015/12/18/1056/

http://www.sailblogs.com/member/williamnorrie/?xjMsgID=384623

 

I Was Dreaming Of ships

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I woke up to a grey dawn, I was dreaming of ships.  I pull out my map and count the miles between home.  Somewhere at the end of an invisible line traced by my finger is the only place I know, she s patiently waiting for me.

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i mentally scroll through the last year of my life, I’m content with everything I possess and even what I don’t.  My old tattered book by Pablo Neruda is beside me, I read my favorite poem, Here I Love You. A smile warms my soul, I feel at peace in his words while I wait to write my own.

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Here I love you.
In the dark pines the wind disentangles itself.
The moon glows like phosphorous on the vagrant waters.
Days, all one kind, go chasing each other.

The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.
Alone.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain.
I love you still among these cold things.
Sometimes my kisses go on those heavy vessels
that cross the sea towards no arrival.
I see myself forgotten like those old anchors.

The piers sadden when the afternoon moors there.
My life grows tired, hungry to no purpose.
I love what I do not have. You are so far.
My loathing wrestles with the slow twilights.
But night comes and starts to sing to me.

The moon turns its clockwork dream.
The biggest stars look at me with your eyes.
And as I love you, the pines in the wind
want to sing your name with their leaves of wire.

A Mary Christmas To All

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Chim chiminey chim chiminey chim chim Charoo I do what I love and I love what I do…

Sailing blog

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee!
A sweep is as lucky
As lucky can be

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Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-oo!
Good luck will rub off when
I shake hands with you
Or blow me a kiss
And that’s lucky too

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Now as the ladder of life
Has been strung
You may think a sweep’s
On the bottom-most rung

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Though I spends me time
In the ashes and soot
In this ol’ wide world
There’s no happier bloke

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Up where the smoke is
All billered and curled
‘Tween pavement and stars
Is the chimney sweep world

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When there’s hardly no day
Nor hardly no night
There’s things half in shadow
And half way in light
On the roof tops of London
Coo, what a sight!

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I choose me bristles with pride
Yes, I do
A broom for the shaft
And a broom for the flume

Sailing blog

Though I’m covered with soot
From me head to me toes
A sweep knows he’s welcome
Wherever he goes

Sailing blog

Chim chiminey
Chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee!
When you’re with a sweep
You’re in glad company

Sailing blog

No where is there
A more happier crew
Than them wot sings
“Chim chim cher-ee
Chim cher-oo!”
On the chim chiminey
Chim chim cher-ee
Chim cher-oo!

And to all a god night

Dog As My Co-pilot

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I could easily come up with 10,000 reasons why you u should never take to the sea with your dog, they would all be lies…

Sailing blog

I don’t think I can come up with one single example of how sailing with your dog is easy but I have never sought out an easy life..  It was blowing a straight 30 knots gusting higher, Chloe needed to go potty and the large developing swell caused by a wind over tide didn’t care  getting her into the dingy was a challenge to say the least but the row to shore was easy, we surfed each wave as a crowd started to gather on the dock waiting for us to flip and drown  I cursed myself for not putting her life jacket on but it was too late now. By some rare miracle we made it to shore, on the way back 20 minutes rowing nowhere in our rubber dink a power boat came to offer us a tow.  It was a wild wet ride and Chloe loved every minute of it  the dingy is her favorite way to travel.   This scenario isn’t a rarity, it actually happens all the time.

Having a soaking wet and salty pup isn’t ideal but it’s what I have called home for over a decade. I find that I’m having a tough time finding a reason to live without my faithful companion.  She was the instigator of watching every sunrise every day. She kept me in shape and in the best company a man could ask for and while it was always a challenge, the rewards were priceless. I honestly never thought I would go down this road again but I have decided that life without a furry companion is no life at all. Chloe was a rescue dog although she ended up rscuing me from a life of monotony.  I have started my search for a new little girl to rule the decks of Sookie, playing pirate by yourself sucks.

i don’t know what breed I will end up with but she will be small, bat shit crazy and capable of keeping up with me all day long.  So down island we will sail with dog as my co-pilot.

Summer loving

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I don’t care what the calander says, in my world solstice is the last day of winter. 

  
Glorious light a few precious seconds each day leading to hours and the long summer nights I love so much. All I can think about is sailing the BC Coast, balmy summer nights and exploring the most beautiful waters on the planet. 

This could easily be my last season in the PNW before setting off for Mexico and I don’t plan on wasting a single second of it. I’m counting the seconds until I am back aboard. The brass lantern is filled and patiently waiting to be lit.  I miss the smell of Sookie and her cozy warm Butternut interior. I sent a letter to the North Pole asking for…

The Perfect Pocket Cruiser

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Frustration has been mounting in my attempt to find a heater with a sailboat attached. It’s been four and half years now attemping to find a way to heat Sookie without ruining her perfect interior. And like everything in my life a guardian angel has descended from the heavens and… 

  
I spent the evening sketching ourt a scale drawing of Sookies galley the only place I can fit a small heater. Her galley has been oven less since day one thinking this gaint gaping hole was the only place I could fit a heating unit.  I can easily fit both a wood stove or a propane one but it would cost me my cooker and the exhaust plumbing would be a cluster. 

If my drawings are correct I can fit this new tiny heater and a full size oven if I choose to.  This is a complete game changer if I can pull it off. 

I ran and re ran the numbers, il be a hundred pages deep before the end of the weekend if tonight’s Christmas party doesn’t render my weekend useless. Having other priorities and obligations In life has kept me from finishing the masterpiece that Sookie is from her cranze iron designed by Larry Pardey to her stern anchor roller designed and built by Mike Anderson.    Years in the making I was beginning to feel defeated as I have so many small improvements on my drawing board  but have never had the time to complete.

I’m still trying to get used to my newly found freedom and the ability literally for the first time in my adult life to to what ever the hell I want with zero concerns for anything and zero responsibility period.  

I pulled out my old and tattered journal from the depths of my backpack. It’s my secret journal and a complete log of my journey to Sookie and the mental process of designing her rebuild. I was suprised when I came across a cryptic note in my sketch. I had completely forgotten about her secret locker and the contents. I wonder I I will ever grow up and stop burying treasure…

To The Sea

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On May 8th I looked over to my crew member and said I’m giving you Sookie, she is now your boat and your the captain  just point to any place on the chart and I will teach you to get there safely and efficiently.  I repeated those words every day for the next 75 days.

Sailing blog

I love sailing, it has nothing to do with boats or living aboard or any of the things newbies conjour in their mind thumbing through the glistening pages of yachting magazines or scrolling through the literally thousands of sailing blogs out there.  It’s about freedom, freedom to roam and freedom from all the insanity of the world we live in.  I love the process of maintaining my little ship to the highest standards, mine.  But it’s the bond of ship and crew that I love most  it takes a lot of faith to put your life in the hands of another and it’s that bonding process that will make or break any crew.

sailing blog

I swore I would never sail solo again and once again I have learned never to speak of the future as it will constantly come back having us eat our words.  Sailing solo is something we all do regardless of ship size or capability of our crew and so I have found a happy medium and will again sail solo with crew. I never realized how much I love teaching this ancient art but my days leading up to that journey were spent teaching all aspects of sailing and maintenece from drilling and tapping steel and fiberglass to proper installation of backing plates, splicing, ground tackle, tuning and maintaining the rig and basically the care and feeding of everything from stem to stern on Sookies little  31′ rig.

voyaging on a budgetOf all the the things I love to teach, seamanship is where my truest passion lies and it has nothing to do with sailing.  It’s a big ocean out there but it’s the smallest details that make for the safest ship.  I’ve taken on my first consultation in years and in doing it found my truest passion, sharing the sail. My new book Boatyard Pirates has gone into a complete re- write as I have again found an untouched niche in the sailing world.

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On a cold and drizzly day just like any other in the PNW I took a sip of my hot coffee.  Closing my eyes and could feel Sookie trying to surf as the swell rolled under our keel.  I smiled, my hand relaxed on the tiller, feeling the wind gently blowing in my ear, steering by the feel of the oceans swell guiding me to Blubber Bay, the gateway to the Desolaion Sound.

If you want to be a sailor you have to go to sea.

When It Rains It Pours

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ive  been rebuilding old boats my entire life. Being stuck in the boatyard with thousands of dollars of bills, a short season and an unsailable boat sucks. My next boat will be near new, just enough for two and I will sail that little girl till we are all  old and grey.

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It’s hard to imagine a better boat than Sookie but I simply want more space, a big fat Diesel engine  to support electronic navigation and a diesel fired heater with thermostatic control, I love living aboard and can’t imagine ever not wanting to.   I’m writing this post from my new I-pad and am shocked at how much easier it is than It was on my I-phone. Like a new boat small improvements make all the difference in the world.

My budget is small and I hope to find a new boat.  Id like it to fit into a thirty for slip if possible and have a tiller.  I have pretty much given up on a BCC as I can’t find one near as nice as Sookie for under 150k. I will never work more than three months a year so that boat has been crossed  off the list as have most small traditional  boats

The  Dana 24 still sits up there near the top as does the Crealock 31.  I’m also looking at more modern boats with Finn keels capable of offshore passages such as the HR 31 and the new Catalina 315.

in the meantime I will continue to sail and maintain Sookie to the highest standards adding small and thoughtful upgrades as I go. With a little luck she just may be staying in my family forever, giving me the freedom to eventually have a boat in both the Northern  and Southern Hemisphere.

Sitting in front of the fire I still have no shoes and my clothes are strangling me. I miss running naked through my private little South Pacific jungle and the warm tropical air. For now it’s endless boat searches, work and good wine in front of the fire reminding me that all of this is worth it. It’s amazing how the universe can strip us of everything, bring us to our knees and them wham like being hit across the side of the head with a 2×4 she gives it all back 10 fold. When it rains it pours.

Jack Tar Cab

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Can you drive a fork lift? Heck yeah I can, it’s just like driving a boat… 20 minutes later driving around with a pile of wine worth over 20k my heart thumping I’m reminded of a person telling me I’m not a captain because I don’t have a piece of paper saying so. When I go to sea I isnt a piece of paper that keeps my crew safe, it’s a lifetime experience of commanding ships.


I love skippering big boats, the bigger the better. Nothing gets your attention like docking a 50′ 50,000lb full keel boat in a cross wind with a green crew. Years ago I was skipper of a 65′ Formosa, when it came to close quarters manoovering you couldn’t tell that boat what to do.  I learned the physical dynamics of the boat and basically was taken for a ride, I learned very quickly what she would let me do and what she wouldn’t, her huge bronze wheel was her saving grace and the right amount of throttle saved me from more than my fair embarrassing moments but sailboats are easy if you listen to them.

At the time I was dating a jet pilot and she always coaxed me into the cockpit, left seat with the tiller in my hand it was a close to sailing as anything I had ever experienced. The first time she let me take off and land in a jet I was convinced I would become a pilot but the truth was I was always just a passenger.  It was her lifetime of experience that made everything so easy and I was constantly reminded of this every time she would give me full control. It was in those mere seconds where I learned that some things are better left to professionals.

Before leaving for Hawaii I hand crushed 55 gallons of Cab.  I have gone through all the motions of making wine from hand to mouth but it doesn’t make me a wine maker.  I am however making wine and in a few short years that wine will mature into my own Private Reserve Jack Tar Cab.  Without a real wine maker holding my hand I couldnt do it but I am in the fortunate position to have the best guidance on the planet earth.

My wine will never be for sale, every bottle will be reserved for guests of the boat, a little thank you for all the people I meet on the water who make my life richer an fuller. The hardest part is being patient and waiting for wine to mature to perfection.  Anything worth waiting for is worth waiting for, everything else in life is just a tax on our very few and precious alloted days on this earth.  Anyone can pour grape juice into a bottle, slap a piece of paper on it and call it wine. On the good ship Sookie no wine will be served before it’s time.

The Moveable Feast

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Bangarang!  We’re going on one last hurrah before she sells. 120 bottles of wine, 24 of whiskey and few cases of beer for good measure.  New V-berth cushions, a new stove and about 500 lbs of jars of veggies and treats.

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My last lesson on Hawaa was taught by Nina and I have found a new passion in cooking. I’ve never really cared about food but after a few weeks of starvation I’m hungry 24/7/365

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Sookie alway famous for her Booze stores will now also be a moveable gourmet feast of natural, fresh and organic splendor.  I landed a Job for a few weeks and am on the constant lookout for 8 days a week till my little home is loaded to her water line.  Who says you can’t  teach an old dog new tricks. If you have any kick ass recepies send them my way and if your hungry swing on by there will be plenary for all.  It’s getting hot around here.    

Travel By Brompton

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A cold rain is falling, I’m warm and dry sitting beside my much loved bike and her munched and crunched Brompton bike box, she made it through without a scratch

  
A hot cup of Kona coffee tastes especially good today. Somewhere in Oregon my only thought is to find as much pickup work as possible so I can make my way home to Sookie. 

It’s been an amazing year of travel and exploration but also one of loss. I’m reading ocean passages, my finger traces many routes, many locations to launch from and I wonder if that Dana in Coneticut will do the job, maybe the one in Chicago but there is also the one in Anacortez. While my search continues I ponder sailing Sookie to Alaska, riding my bike around the PNW  and that damn cabin I keep dreaming about. 

Gettin me on a plane is just about the most difficult thing on the planet, I much prefer the slow mode of bikes and boats. With a clean slate I rethink minalist travel, gear and electronics.  My digital office may be empty but it was easy to let go of knowing I would be forced to find a better way to share the journey.  

I look out the window of my flat and see that the lake is overflowing. It’s a metaphore for my life. I have my health, I’m in the best shape of my life and happy and free as a bird. 

Hawaii showed me many things but the most important was how content I am with my life. I saw sad people, unhappy people, angry people, bitter people, lost souls, drug addicts, alcoholics… I met people with so much insecurity and hostility but for what I can’t imagine.  My backpack is aready packed for the next adventure and while I have issues to deal with like all of us my emotional baggage fits into a clean little package and will always be small enough to carry on. 

Maui tonight me that the truest freedom in life starts in the mind. All the success in the world is for not, all the possesions in the world can’t buy happiness.  Going through the motions on a treadmill is the biggest thief of life and our youth regardless of or age. 

I will continue to do and go about everything in life the way I always have only this time I will do it differently.  I’m donating my life to the world. If there is anything you need in this world maybe I can help. Just send me a message in a bottle and I’ll be there…

Today I started writing about my trusty side kick Brompty and how a bike can and will save your life, it reveals the age old mystery of the fountain of youth.

31 Days Of Aloha

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My pack is packed, my Brompty is all snugged up in a crfboard box and ready for her next adventure. I was hoping to spend the winter here but  I keep hearing the PNW calling my name.  

  
I can already smell the fire place. I can feel my snugly warmies and taste a nice winters hot buttered rum. I watch the sunrise surrounded by tropical plants, I know them all by name as they surrounded my childhood.  

I came here for many reasons, none of them matter anymore. I will be headed to the west coast with a new set of eyes. The next journey is in the makeing. It’s hard to say goodbye to all my new friends but that’s what travel is. Short intense relationships that you never want to let go of….  There will be many more stories down that long road, many more goodbys and many more new sights, sounds and tastes.   I’ve been on the move for 7 straight months but it’s really more like 13 straight years as that’s when I walked away from the security of my little cubicle. 

I need a break and will find it in the form of a cozy little cabin close to a pub with lots of good bicycle trails I have a book to write before I head out on the next big one.  Funny thing is, if my dreams are real and they always are.  That Cabin will lay the foundation for the biggest adventure yet.  Turn on the light,  I’m coming home….

10,000 Miles On A Catalina 25

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By this time next week I hope to be back on Sookie sipping a glass of wine and toasting all the many people who joined me on this journey.  

  
Over the years I have owned more boats than I can count, when asked which one was best, my answer is always every one of them. 

Back before the turn of the century I purchased a turn key Catalina 25 in my opinion one of the finest boats ever built. She was flawless in every way. Over the next 5 years I would sail her upwards of  300 days a year and over 10,000 miles from the Channel Islands to Mexico. 

In all those miles I never had a single gear failure.  Her little outboard always started on the second pull except for the day I sold her. On thy day it started on the first pull. 

I loved that boat so much I hired a marine architect to help me make her into a blue water boat. In the end we could have beefed her up but the weight penalty would have killed her dream performance.  I reluctantly let her go, not because I didn’t love her but because I loved her so much I din want to slow her down.  When she did sell it was for the exact amount I paid and she sold as the highest priced C25 on the market. She sold in three days   

I find a lot of joy in the process of rebuilding old boats but it can be a slippery slope. It’s not just finding  the right boat but the right location. Sookie is ready for a coat of paint and a good launch party. She is perfect in every way, they all were.  My next journey will be one of self discovery. Do I really want a larger boat or maybe I’ll just borrow a trailer and celebrate the New Years in Guyamas. It’s hard to imagine winter when I don’t even own a pair of shoes. 

A new form of freedom has been discovered.  One that lets me do anything or go anywhere for no other reason than it sounds like a fun journey.  There are many open doors and forks in the road. All I have to do is choose my destiny. Or maybe I’ll let it choose me. 

Three Little Birds

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Rise up this mornin. Smile to the rising sun. Three little birds,  each by my doorstep. Singin sweet songs. Of melodies pure and true.  Saying “this is my message to you”.

  
I smile an try and remember just a few days back. I’m lying in my tent sweating, covered with flies. I’m so exhausted I can’t move. I study the bugs crawling across my tent when a siren goes off blaring so laud it deafens me yet somehow I still hear it. Tsunami I can’t get up, too weak.  I lay there wondering how it will do me in, quickly or a long slow painful death. I don’t think about my friends. I don’t think about my family. I don’t have any regrets for the things I never got around to in life. It doesn’t matter at this point, nothin does.  I think about Chloe ” be patient baby I’m coming to see you”. 

 I roll over and see family’s fleeing dragging thier kids with packs slung over thier shoulder. Even in a life or death situation they actually take the time to save thier precious shit before grabbing the kids.  I close my eyes and I’m running beside Chloe… I let go of everything 

  My only want and desire is that when my time comes and I’m old and grey  is that somewhere out  there somebody loves an misses me as much as I do Chloe.  I have many years left on this planet, if I can ever become half of as great a person as she thought I was I will be content with the life I created. 

My nieces are sound a sleep occasionally making peaceful sounds from the dream  world. I ran into my sister at dawn on the beach. The boys are out on a dive…  All the children are protected by a halo of love and nourishment. 

And so like all fairy tails. There was a long journey. Dragons to sleigh and a princess to save…  I have found my treasure burried somewhere deep in my heart  and they all lived happily ever after. 

True love will find you in the end. 

The West Wing

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The life of privilege fits me like a glove and I slip right in. We have the whole west wing, three generations are represented and I’m beginning to wonder why I ever walked away from the life I worked so hard for. 

  
  
I’m beginning to wonder, maybe I’m not a minimalist, maybe I don’t want such an extremely simple life. Sitting in a post card I ponder the half dozen very generous offers I have received from all over the world.  I have options, all I have to do is say yes. 

Helicopter rides, zip lines? Scuba, rent a plane… Come on Al you big chicken come with is.  No one in my family knows I have a blog, if they do they haven’t  read it.   How do I explain I have spent the better part of the year pushing my life to the fringes. I don’t need to pay for adrenaline, my fun meter is pegged.

I’m still weak from pushing too many calories out without putting enough fuel in the tank. I spend my days drifting at sea, I lay on my back floating  on the surface. I can hear the sand crunching beneath me, my lungs draw a another breath, I am free as a bird. Free diving has always been my zen and I do it often.  Drifting under a reef playing with an eel I’m at complete peace, the sea is my treasure, I can only stay down as long a I can hold my breath.  The more I work at it the stronger the reward.   

I pick up a little silver bell and tinkle it, one more cup of coffee please. 

South Pacific 

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I miss my first sunrise since arriving on Maui  snuggled  up tight as a bug in a rug I’m completely content, I hold on, I don’t want this to end, ever… and why should it. 
Another day passes and I’m surrounded by family, laughter food and Piña Coladas.  My family is never suprised by what I drag in, they are always warm an welcoming   They love me and if it makes me happy it makes them happy. 

  
We laugh and smile and share.  I’m suprised by my own words when asked what my next adventure will be. I tell them about the dreams I keep having and the South Pacific.  They used to think I’m nuts, so many years of just throwing a dart at a map and following it to the end of the earth, now they know I’m nuts.  

  
There will always be obstacles but I feel I need to one up my slow boring life and have a real adventure worth stamping on my name on. I think about Sookie and the 5 year 50k refit I’ve done on her, I can see bikinis hanging from her lifelines, fresh fruit in little hammocks, naked tanned bodies that smell like coconut and feel like fresh flowers. 

  
I wonder if I have what it takes to be a truly authentic nuatical writer, to write from the soul and not for a paycheck.  My flight is booked, back to the snow and rain and cold.  Come sail away, come sail away, come sail away with me.

Idiot!

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Yep that’s me a fucking idiot…before I go one step further I will say don’t worry I’m ok. I’m actually great. Don’t worry, be happy. 

  
  
I wake up dizzy and faint, my head Is killing me I can’t focus on anything. I’m in the weakest state of my life. I’m literally starving but I don’t care because I have scraped up a hundred bucks and I’m cab-n It to my posh hotel. It takes the better part of 4 hours to take my tent down and give it to a homeless guy with the balance of my y food. I have food to eat but my system won’t let me eat more than scraps for days on end si I give it all away, It doesn’t matter it all ends today. 

  
I wobble and weave to the cab. The whole trip I’m on the verge of either passing out or vomiting.  I make it to the hotel and give the cabbie 40 bucks. I’m having chest pains. I slowly stager in and try and check in. I say try because I’m a fucking day early…Rat Fucked!

  
I’m sitting in a hostel slowly nibbling on food trying to regain my strength, I’m surrounded by a harem of pretty giggling young travellorets  hot coffee in hand and I have a bed. I’d write more but I  can’t. Nina  from the Netherlands is giving me a shoulder rub and desperately wants to learn more about Sookie.  Her dream is to live on a boat like the one she grew up on.  Life is good.

PS.  Dear… And you know who you are  Thank you:)

The Three Little Piggies

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And by the hair if my chinny chin chin I will huff and I will puff and I will blow your house in. 

  
There is some shinanagins going on in comment land on a post I recently wrote. This in my two cents which is all it’s worth. The comment suggests that a first time boat owner should buy an old derelict piece of shit boat. His reasoning is that the new owner will run ground hit docks break down… All these things are very true and I agree with them.  Rather than argue  with him or ram my opinion down other peoples throats who were unfortunate enough to stumble by here today I will give give 2 simple examples.  I could probably write an entire book on this subject but who cares what I think.  I’m just a dumb fucking homeless guy. 

I have a very good friend who wanted to learn to sail. This guy gets sea sick at the dock on a calm day.  He bought an old beater, read a few books and took the boat out and tried to kill it an himself in the process. Guess what, he loved it and lived through it. He ran aground hit docks lost his boat and found it somewhere else… It’s been two years now and he lives aboard and voyages often with his family now on his 6th boat  he is a fine sailor and excellent navigator as well as cook and deck boy.   He has the finest yacht in the world. He still hits the occasional dock and yes he has even run aground.  We all make mistakes here and there it’s what I love so much about sailing. You never stop learning. 

I have another friend who is one if my two favorite people in the world to sail with. He went to sailing school, chartered and crewed on boats and sucked up knowledge from evey sailor he could find.  He really wanted a modern late model boat but couldn’t afford it at the time so we worked hard and saved and a few years later got that boat and sailed the shit out if it.  Since buying that boat he has sailed at least 2 or 3 times to Cabo crossed the pacific a couple of times and sailed his new boat home from Alcupolco to Bellingham.  I’m not saying that he has never hit the dock or run aground but If he has I’ve never heard of it or seen it. He did hit a deadhead in a full blown winter gale which stove his rudder but that’s the shit we face up here.

 I will never tell another sailor  how to do this or that, different strokes for different folks. Let me dumb this down abut for my self,  a bit off today. There are two cars siting side by side. A Yugo with no seat belts or air bags. And a brand new Subaru with steel reinforced doors, front and side air bags and a seat belt. Each car is going to be hurtled into a telephone pole at 30 miles per hour. You have to get into one, choose A or B

As for me, well I like a keel that can’t fall off. A good strong and easily serviceable rudder and  stick that stays where I put it. All this can be had for less than 10k which is how much money I made as a 17 year old making $3.74 an hour delivering pizzas.  In closing there are three very basic   Designs of boats  ones made of straw( day sailors). Ones made of wood (coastal cruisers) and ones made of brick ( blue water sailboats). I don’t know which one you would chose but when the big bad wolf comes blowing at my door I want to be in a boat built like a brick shit house. 

Tip of the day there are quite a few out there that think older fiberglass boats are stronger than new ones. Short answer , They aren’t.  

For good reads on awesome sailing on a budget visit www.controlledjibe.com. And please don’t make fun of mark. Lots of grown men are afraid of sharks, myself included. 

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