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

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