"One does not discover new lands without consenting to lose sight of the shore for a very long time." -Andre Gide

Thursday, December 30, 2010

New Year's Resolve

Thankfully the rain has stopped for a while.  We pulled Lil' Wheels out of the water and dried her off!  She is none the worse for wear!  We are working on her mast, boom, and standing rigging.  Her dinghy-days are numbered and we are looking forward to day-sailing days!

We've been posting for a whole year now.  Things have been winding down in boat-land.  The big repairs are done and now it is just maintenance...sanding, repainting, refinishing, blah blah blah.  And, quite frankly, I wonder if it is enough to sustain a blog.

Life marches on.  Happy New Year!  2011 will be a great year!
What new resolutions lie ahead?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Winter Storm - Lil Wheels is down!

About a week ago, the First Mate said we should take Lil' Wheels out of the water with the storms coming. The Captain should have deferred to the First mate for the this one. 

has been raining for 36 hours straight.  We think 9 inches of rain have fallen.  Needless to say, no refinishing, painting, polishing, or cleaning will be done.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Lighted Boat Parade Snafu

We hung the lights.   Prepared the Hot Totties and Hot Chocolates.  Even bought extra flotation devices for our guests.  Alas, all our efforts were foiled by the unusually low tide.  We couldn't get out of our marina without running aground.  We didn't make it to the Lighted Boat Parade!  No. 14 was nowhere to be found in the line up.  Next year . . . next year . . .

It seems the Tide Charts are little off this year or Estero Bay has silted up a lot this winter. The boat looked great and we tried all day to get out of the slip, but the tide was too low for Training Wheels to get out of the dock.

We made it to the embarcadero in Morro Bay to see some of the other boats after the parade was nearly over . . . . seemed to be a success with large crowds viewing form the shore and some nicely decorated boats on the water. The only good news is that I got to spend all day with my first mate and have a head start on decorating the boat for next year. One of the new purchases that I will write a review on a future blog is the Duracell 800w Digital inverter to provide the AC needed to power the many Christmas lights and hot water maker for the Hot Toddys.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sailing Mishap plan: Broken Boom

Since breaking the boom on Training Wheels, I have heard from quite a few sailors that have done the same thing!

I had read about it in books like “Dove”, the circumnavigation of sixteen year old Lee Grahm in the 50's. Back in those days they had no satellite phone and no SSB (Short Side Band radio) to call the Coast Guard or Local Harbor Assist. They had to make do with what they had.

I have mentioned a few times before, I want to learn the sailing craft on Training Wheels the old-school way before I learn with modern conveniences.  After the boom breaks, I am sure the first thing many will do is let out a four letter explicative or two.  The first constructive thing to do is to turn into the wind to relieve the pressure off the sails. Next, take down the sail.

Before you rig a make-shift boom you need to have the mainsail under control on deck. This sounds easy, but it was really hard for me to do that day on Training Wheels. The first thing I did when the boom broke was to furl the Genoa. Looking back this was probably a mistake We had rounded Point Buchon and were about a mile from shore. At this close a distance to land the shallow water caused the swell to have risen to about 6 feet at a fairly close interval. The swell and the wind made it impossible for me to turn the boat into the wind with just the flapping main sail that I could no longer control. Even after turning on the engine I could still not get the boat point into the wind. I believe keeping the Genoa up would have helped this.

After you are able to the sail under control you can sail under Genoa alone, but this can cause control difficultly on some points of sail. Plus that ends the discussion and makes for a boring blog. So then we move on to creating a new boom. Creativity is key but needs to be paired with a good amount of compromise. The new boom does not need to be as long or as strong as the original. You only need something that will fit the main sail reefed down as far as possible. On training wheels this would cut the original boom length of 12 feet to 8 feet.

The standard replacement for a boom is to use a whisker pole. It is usually about the right size for a reefed main and has enough strength the the job. Depending on the attachment type of the whisker pole you may need to use a piece of line to secure the whisker pole to the mast and act as a down haul (line holding boom down near the mast) to keep the pole from lifting during gusts. The main sheets can be tied directly to the main sail clew (bottom back or aft corner of the sail) or on the whisker pole. Another option often may be to use a remaining piece of the boom or anything you have that is close to being long enough.  

Friday, November 19, 2010


What is a “Shipwreck”?  Is it any good?  Basically any combination of rum and anything can be called a shipwreck. Try googling shipwreck recipe. You'll get any number of concoctions!  We lost count after 25 different recipes!

Anyhow, we think these are the TOP Nautical Theme Drinks ever made!  We haven't vetted all of them with friends, but we think that they are novel, if not down right naughty and nautical! 
So, what are the best nautical theme drinks?  You tell us!

Port And Starboard
1 tblsp Grenadine
1/2 oz Green Creme de Menthe
Pour carefully into a pousse-cafe glass, so that creme de menthe floats on grenadine. Serve without mixing.

Buoy shot
2 oz. Captain Morgan rum
4 oz. orange juice
A splash of cherry juice
To get the best effect for this shot, it should be served in an hourglass-shaped shot glass, which is also used for bomb shots. Otherwise, any glass will do.

Island Affair
1 1/4 oz melon liqueur
1/2 oz Cointreau® orange liqueur
1/3 oz Blue Curacao liqueur
1 1/2 oz orange juice
2 oz mango juice
1 oz whipped cream
Shake melon liqueur, cointreau and juices and strain into a pina colada glass three-quarters filled with broken ice. Add curacao, and float cream on top. Garnish with fruit, and serve with straws.

Absolut Salty Dog
1 1/2 oz Absolut® Peppar vodka
5 oz. grapefruit juice
¼ teaspoon salt
Pour all ingredients over ice cubes in a highball glass. Stir well and serve.

A Little Dinghy
2 shots Captain Morgan® Parrot Bay coconut rum
2 shots Malibu® coconut rum
cranberry juice
pineapple juice
orange juice
Serve in a highball glass

Cabin Cooler
16 oz Absolut® Raspberri vodka
16 oz Captain Morgan® Parrot Bay coconut rum
8 oz cranberry juice
4 oz ginger ale
Combine all ingredients in a pitcher and chill, preferably in ice. Pour into suitable glasses. Garnish rim of each glass with a lime slice, and serve.

Sex with the Captain
1 1/2 oz Captain Morgan® Original spiced rum
1 oz amaretto almond liqueur
1 oz peach schnapps
fill with 1/2 cranberry juice
fill with 1/2 orange juice

1.5 oz Captain Morgan® spiced rum
cream soda
Garnish with orange slice and maraschino cherry.

Fog Horn
1 1/2 oz gin
1 oz Rose's® lime juice
8 oz ginger ale
Stir ingredients together in a collins glass filled with ice cubes, and serve.

Tomorrow We Sail
3 1/2 oz Champagne
1/2 oz LBV port
1/2 oz dark rum
1 tsp triple sec
Serve in a champagne flute. Garnish with orange twist.

Armada Martini
6 parts vodka
2 parts amontillado sherry
Orange twist
Combine. Stir. Strain into glass and garnish with orange twist.

Low Tide Martini
6 parts vodka
1 part dry vermouth
Lime twist
1 teaspoon clam juice
Olive stuffed with smoked clam
Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice, shake well. Strain. Garnish with clam-stuffed olive.

Deep Sea Martini
6 parts Gin
2 parts dry vermouth
½ teaspoon Pernod
1 dash orange bitters
Combine, stir, strain into cocktail glass. Enjoy.

Quarterdeck Martini
6 parts berry vodka
1 part maraschino liqueur
1 part grapefruit juice
Fresh mint sprig
Combine all. Stir. Strain into a cocktail glass, garnish with mint.

Maritime Martini
6 parts gin
2 parts dry vermouth
Anchovy-stuffed olive
Combine liquid ingredients with ice, shake, strain. Garnish with anchovy-stuffed olive.

p.s. I think when I become an official Yacht club member, I will serve "Tomorrow We Sail" onboard. For the Holiday Lighted Boat Parade, maybe "Sex With the Captain"!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lil Wheels gets a Mast-lift

Lil Wheels got a facelift this week--or shall I say mast-lift!  The masts were completely sanded down, wood fill applied, more sanding down, and then finally a new coat of varnish applied.  Just 5 more coats to go . . . .

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Rigging a Drogue

After the boom failure a couple months ago I decided to do a couple blogs on methods for continuing a journey after various types of failure. First up is a rudder failure which can be overcome with a simple drogue. A drogue is created by hanging stuff off the back of a boat to slow the vessel and give the crew some sort of control. It is most often used in heavy storm weather when no sails are set and the tendency of most mono-hull boats is to lie with the side facing the oncoming waves.  The drogue is set to drag behind the boat and keep the aft (back) of the boat to the wave.  It slows the boat so that it doesn't surf down the front of a wave and bury the bow in the front of the next wave.

A drogue can also steer the boat. I have seen a few different methods of creating a drogue. The November issue of Cruising World had a great sidebar "Rig a Drogue" in the article "Up the Creek without a Rudder". This took the basic drogue design shown below and modified it to allow steerage.

All the needs to be done is to extend the length of the bridle and run each end to blocks located forward of the Genoa winches (usually the strongest winches). You can then use the winches to shorten a side of the bridle and pull the drogue to one side or the other creating more drag and causing the boat to turn. As is usually for sailing control still comes down to a balancing act. You have to experiment with balancing the amount of weight on the drogue with how much sail is up to have control and keep a straight course. 

The diagram above shows an actual store bought drogue line but a drogue can be made with materials already on most boats. The drogue line can be your standard anchor line with knots tied in it for drag and a couple sections of anchor rode chain for some weight.

More detailed discussions are available in the links below.



Saturday, November 6, 2010

Blogging and Writing

I have to give you the update: the aftermath of the Cuesta College Writer's Conference!  I was thoroughly encouraged and stimulated to hone my craft.  The criticism was also there.  Writing with the intention of getting published is not for the faint of heart.  Writing in my journal is easy.  Writing a nonfiction book proposal is a bit more intimidating!

At the Conference, I had the good luck to attend Stephen Blake Mettee's seminar "How to Publish Non-fiction" which was really an hour and half long soapbox hard sell for his brilliant book How to Write a Nonfiction Book Proposal.  I promptly went to the bookstore and bought it.

Also, have secured a writing crtique group--partner, rather--with the intent on serious writing and serious constructive feedback.  All of this is TOP SECRET, of course!  I can't tell you what I'm writing, who I'm writing with, or when I'll ever be done.  But, I can tell you that it doesn't have anything to do with sailing!

~First Mate

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Flares 101

#1 Reason for Failing a Safety Check by the Coast Guard . . .

. . . . having expired flares on board.

All the other items are easy to keep track of.  Lifevests.  Check.  Registration numbers on boat.  Check.  VHF radio working.  Check.  But, everyone forgets to check the expiration date on their flares. 

Which begs the question: What does one do with expired flares?

We'd never lighted a flare before.  But, hey, it was expired!!!!  It seems silly to light a flare when we didn't need any help.  No S.O.S. here.  But, now we know that flares don't burn in water.  They are bright.  They are hot in your hand.  We think that they burn for 13 minutes.  I hope help is closeby if we need it!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Cool iphone App for Star Gazing

We featured an iphone Compass app in a past post.  This post is here to tell you about the iphone Star Guide app!

Have you ever looked up and wondered what constellation is overhead?  This iphone app uses the GPS and accelerometer to determine what constellations are in the direction that the phone is facing.  When you look at the night sky, point the phone's camera at the night sky, the screen displays the stars, their names, and constellations!
At SEA~ During the day, we were able to tell our direction by the sun.  When a sailor wakes up the morning, he looks for the sun.  Going from Hawaii to California, the sun should be directly in front of the boat or on the starboard side every morning.  The sun rises in the East and sets in the West.  Daytime orientation.

During the night, we set our intention to sail on a heading in line with a notable constellation.  The Milky Way is bright and bands the night sky.  At dusk, the sailor sets his compass to a line and holds it until the stars come out.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Sail Repair

We took our torn mainsail down to the local repair shop.  This place is pretty cool!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

My Boat has a Martingale?

You may remember that our boom snapped in two during the Zongo Cup. The wind had shifted after rounding Point Buchon and as I eased out the main sail (let out more line to swing out the main sail) I failed to loosen the boom vang. The boom snapped right at the attachment of the boom vang. The boom had a lot of corrosion around this spot, but not easing the boom vang didn't help matters. So, I decided to do some research on how to properly use a boom vang.

To my surprise, there are various names used for a boom vang. Currently, boom vang is used in the US and kicking strap is used in the UK, but and older term is martingale.  Basically, it is a pulley and/or a piston/rod systems that is used to level the boom and controls twist in the main sail.

Great, but when do you use it?

After searching around a bunch of books and web sites, I found a decent working description on the Sailing USA site:

"If the boom is over the water, one may want to first trim the lower part of the mainsail by using the mainsail's sheet , then loosen the boom vang until the aft (top) portion of the mainsail or telltales start to luff then tighten the boom vang until the luffing stops and the telltales (along the leech or back edge of the sail) are streaming backward." This is for sailing on a reach or down wind. Why do you want the sail twisted? The wind blows at different angles near the water or the bottom of the sail than it does 40 feet off the the water. In order for the whole sail to provide the maximum lift the sail needs to twist to meet the wind at the proper angle. 

If sailing close hauled or into the wind, the main sail doesn't really have twist.  The boom vang is used in strong winds to flatten the sail and reduce the lift force of the sail.  A flat sail can help avoid having to reef the main and will reduce excessive heeling.  

p.s. If we had been smart like those folks on the Bella Star we might have found the corrosion under the boom vang plate and fixed it! 

Saturday, October 16, 2010

It's Fall!

This is the first Saturday morning in 3 weeks that I've had to lay in bed as long as I want then troll around with a cup of coffee for as long as I want.  It seems like heaven!  Sure, there are a ton of things we could be doing to fix up Lil'Wheels and Training Wheels.  We could don our weekend warrior masks and tackle the boom remake or sanding the mast.   But, why?  Can't I just sit here and drink coffee? 

There will always be work to do.  But, this is the perfect day for reading Moby Dick!  It is overcast and cool outside.  No reason to rush over to the dock just to get cold and wet through to the bones.  Last month I finished Treasure Island and Mutiny on the Bounty.  I think both books are wonderful and quaint.  They remind me of the boyhood I never had.  Just fun adventures all around.  I was just a serious little girl growning up!  I think that Moby Dick will be more on the serious side!  I'll let you know!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Motion Sickness and Nausea Antidotes

One of the first questions I asked Truman when he got home was, "Well, so, did you throw up?" and then "What do you mean, you didn't get sick at all?" and then, "How was this possible?"

Motion sickness was first described by Hippocrates; nausea being from the root word "naus" or ship in Greek.  Seasickness is something that every serious sailor takes seriously.  My own history with queasiness was the number one reason I was hesitant to buy a boat.  Motion sickness is very familiar to me; all deep sea fishing and whale watching trips turned into the most expensive naps on the planet as I popped Dramamine like candy! 

All joking aside, My captain went to Hawaii packed with anti-nausea ginger gum, MotionEaze drops, and over-the-counter Dramamine pills.  The guys spent two weeks working on the boat and sleeping on-board so they got used to the boat rocking in its slip.  But, the first venture out to Kauai was pretty rough. 

Truman says that he has never gotten seasick.  He admits to getting a little green in the past, but as long as he took the helm he was fine.  He didn't want to leave anything to chance in Hawaii.  And he didn't want to have anything threaten his performance as a crew member, so he premedicated with Dramamine two nights before leaving port.  He doesn't remember if he read somewhere to do this, but it sure worked!  He never used the gum or drops.  After leaving port, he took the Dramamine daily for the first 4 days at sea prior to his "sleeping" shift, usually 4am to 8am.

In looking back, if one is prone to seasickness, it would be good to have a large supply of scopolamine also at hand.  Scopolamine patches are great!  Apply 1 patch behind the ear at least 4 hours prior to exposure and every 3 days as needed; effective if applied as soon as 2-3 hours before anticipated need, best if 12 hours before.  I would go a step further and recommend that very sick persons use two patches, one behind each ear, and switch them on alternate days.

Despite not vomiting, Truman says that he had no appetite for food for the first 3-4 days.  He says that he didn't want anything spicy.  Bland food was best.  And he certainly didn't want any alcohol.  I am happy to report that he lost no weight on the journey.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Go For Broke: Motor Sailing Rock-n-Roll

I have been home a week.  I am finally ready to start blogging again! Plus, I bet it is time for a technical post before I loose all the guys following blog. The First Mate's posts are good, but generally a little girly.  Ha ha, but seriously, I had a great time and learned a lot on my cruise aboard Go For Broke.

When we left Kauai, we had to slog directing into the wind for the first 20 miles to get out of the influence of the island. The island influence is due to the mountains, volcanoes, and shallow water around the islands that cause confused seas, steep swells, and often strong and/or shifting winds.  Heading directing into the wind we tried to get the Jib up to steady the boat. Raising a sail will always make for a smoother ride even when motoring.

We had to deal with the rocking and rolling of motoring.  How you power boaters out there deal with this I have no idea. In the the video below is Go For Broke leaving Kauai under power (motoring) with no sails set.

The video below really shows the advantage of "motor sailing" as opposed to just plain motoring. While departing Oahu we were motoring-sailing across the swell in the video below and the boat is still comfortably level. 

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Go For Broke Picture Tour

In no particular order . . .

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Morro Bay Harbor Festival 2010

Go For Broke docked in Hawaii today!  I was happy to report to family and friends that Truman is back on dry land safe and sound.  He will be home in 2 days.  Meanwhile, I went to my first Harbor Festival! 

Garlic and Butter!  Hmmm. . . .