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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Thursday, December 29, 2011

A Thanksgiving Cruise - St Pete Beach Florida

HideAway along the ICW near Tierra Verde Florida
The last impediment on Boca Ciega Bay to the Gulf of Mexico is a bascule bridge designated by a particularly uncreative bureaucrat simply as Structure C. Motor sailing south from this relic from a slower time the HideAways began to have doubts as to the wisdom of anchoring for the night off St Pete Beach in the Gulf of Mexico. Dan and Steve following us in Miandros expressed the confidence sailors have after spending too much time ashore insisting that the easterly wind would keep the Gulf calm close to the beach.

The definition as to what constitutes a calm anchorage depends upon the boat you are sailing. Miandros, a Pearson Wanderer, is about two feet wider, seven feet longer and has more than twice the displacement of HideAway, a Compac 23. Add to equation the HideAway seems to be a magnet for wind that drinks scotch whiskey while howling at the moon all night and you can understand our concern. Noting that Miandros was flying a reefed main did nothing to comfort the HideAways.

Mihandros Reefed  ICW St Pete Beach Fl

For now though, the sky was sunny, the wind was up along with the unusually warm temperature of almost 80.  At Thanksgiving!  To the relief of everyone the usual white knuckle portion of the ICW between Tierra Verde to port and St Pete Beach to starboard was nearly devoid of traffic.  Gybing into Pass-A-Grille Channel revealed one cabin cruiser eastbound on the correct side of the channel well out of harms way.  The waters north of the channel, close to the proposed anchorage, give even the shallow draft sailors the willies. Although a cut is rumored to exist just off the rip rap and pier neither Capt. desired to explore this possibility and held course offshore to the last marker before heading north

HideAway in Pass A Grille Channel
Once north bound HideAway sailed on with a bone in her teeth . . .

(To be continued)


Saturday, December 10, 2011

A Florida Gunkhole Raft-up - - - Stern To?

Rafted near Indian Key St Petersburg, Florida

There must be somewhere in this big world, a snug little gunkhole as calm as a mirror. The HideAways in contrast, are quite successful at finding bumpy anchorages with 20kn winds especially when rafted next to a larger boat.

Rafting two sailboats of dissimilar weight and lengths is something of an art form. A balance must be maintained between boarding access and preventing the respective standing rigging from an expensive entanglement while keeping in mind the motion of a 5 ton boat is considerably different than a two ton.

Add to the equation, the fact that a Compac 23 does not have a hull liner and that the crew sleeps on the settees conveniently located at the beam. Also located on the beam are a series of fenders deployed to keep the boats apart. These fenders love to sing and squawk all night inspired as they are from the wave action.

A 2 x 4 Separates the Cushions for a Quiet Night

The book “How to Raft Up the Boring Way”,  A double anchor has been set and six fenders positioned to cushion the boats on a calm night.

The addition of a 2 x 4 eliminates direct contact with the opposing boat and guarantees a silent night.

SV HideAway Rafted Stern-To

Always innovators, the Stern-To Raft Up Method was invented when HideAway’s bow line untied itself in the aforementioned 20kn air. The HideAways now have a deficit balance in the Bank of Good Luck after rescue by strong stern cleats with good wraps.

It took all five of us plus a Marine Scientist who happened by in his kayak to pull HideAway’s bow back around in the strong wind. Marine Scientists are good to have around, especially if they bring a kayak. This one stayed for supper, told some fascinating stories of the BP oil spill, and then shoved off into the night with a flash light strapped to his head. (A phone call later verified his successful bay crossing.)

The HideAways had a peaceful night’s sleep dreaming of reefed main and storm jib configurations.

Anchored off St Pete Beach Florida
Become a Free Range Human today!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sink or Sail? The HideAways Find a Hole in the Boat- Dear Liza!

I've read somewhere that the greatest enjoyment of a vacation is the planning rather than the actual adventure.   I guess that's what separates the sailors from the rest of the world. 

The Captains of the boats going on a true shallow water gunkhole cruise over the holiday met to discuss the merits of favorite places in context with the expected weather six days hence. 

Of greatest interest was entering an unmarked pass from the Gulf of Mexico then following the meandering and often inaccurate markers that range from officialdom to sticks in the sand.    HideAway with her new depth finder and shallow draft was elected to lead boat.  Meals were planned with assignments given for those responsible for bringing small, hopefully deceased animals to grill.  Events scheduled based upon plans A through C with the Capt declining the swimming portion in the 72 degree water.

The HideAways decided to launch on Sunday for a cruise leaving Friday due to other commitments.  There is no point in discussing why only three tie down lines were removed before the Capt drove out of the dry slip.   Fortunately, the remaining tie down was old and tired and snapped instead of pulling out a cleat.  Nor is there any point discussing how the bow line came unfastened at a critical moment during  launching thus creating the photo op below.

HideAway Ready to Sail or Sink

After HideAway was completely secured in an over sized slip the Capt. did a cursory inspection of holes in the boat and discovered HideAway was most assuredly sinking.  Not quickly, but nontheless sinking from a leaking transducer.  

Under the protection of darkness the offending transducer was removed, cleaned and prepared for reinstatement on the morrow. HideAway's cabin is a different story. Sounds easy doesn't it?   Ha! 

We sail with the tide in five days or maybe six to one of three secret gunkholes or maybe none.  Who knows?  This is a sailing cruise after all-the planning is fun but the best is yet to come! 


Thursday, November 10, 2011

BCYC Cruising Video - The Latest and Last

At last the third video of the St Pete Boat Show sailing trilogy is complete!  Now where can we go cruising on HideAway next......  Mullet Key maybe,  Hmmmmmm

Be sure to stop by Boca Ciega Yacht Club's booth at the St Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show
December 1-4th.     Tent One Booth 131.  Or just follow a yellow tee shirt!  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

St Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show with HideAway

Tis the season of boat shows along the west central Florida coast. It seems one of our sailing club members has experience building modern trade show booths and launched a project to include a BCYC booth at this year’s St Petersburg Power and Sailboat Show.

2010 St Petersburg Boat Show

Apparently someone saw one on my videos on Sailing HideAway and asked if I’d mind doing a couple of more to promote Boca Ciega Yacht Club at the Show. “Sure, why not?” says I. Then the search for film, music and photos took the place of blogging for awhile.

Considering the St Pete Boat Show takes place under the shadows of the new Salvador Dali Museum along the downtown St Petersburg waterfront I should not have been surprised the last few weeks have included a touch of the surreal.

Sea Pearls and the Dali - A nice combo

It’s all good though. The show runs December 1st through the 4th. Be sure to stop by if you’re in town. Here are the first two.  The third:  BCYC Cruising will be done soon.

Given the HideAways vast knowledge of racing all of the BCYC Racing footage came from someone else.
The Featured boat, Nikki, captained by Bruce Bingham, in red, not only won this race but also won the Suncoast BOTY trophy this year.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pelicans in Paradise -

Cabin fever begins in August in these parts. It is the season that belies sound reasoning and encourages foolish actions. Naturally a summer’s sailing excursion is in order.

An ideal cruise quickly planned from Gulfport Fl to the tropical paradise known to old time locals as Picnic Island or by its more modern name, Caladesi Island State Park, just across from St Joseph’s sound from Dunedin some dozen or so miles north of Gulfport as the pelican flies. The award winning park boasts a well run marina nestled back in the mangroves hosted this time of year by No See-ums the size of hungry bats.

Our solo sailor set sail later than prudent on a hot sultry sunny morn crossing Boca Ciega Bay then following the ICW north. Later that afternoon a secluded anchorage behind a spoil island as far from the urban shore as possible was secured. Moments later our explorer extraordinaire found his ship besieged by mosquitoes of such size and number an immediate retreat was necessary.

Sailing out of John’s Pass into the Gulf of Mexico he found the peace and serenity he was looking for. He was so taken by the warm tropical wind pushing him effortlessly at 5 knots that he phoned northern friends, family and ex lovers to drop everything and come to Florida where they would sail together in pure harmony and bliss all the way to Key West. It was the best sailing experience of his life he explained. Then the sun went down.

“Why not anchor in the Gulf for the night?” The thoughtful explorer reasoned.

It should be explained here that the Gulf of Mexico is only about 20 feet deep for tens of miles off shore as well as pointing out the next landfall is Mexico, over a thousand miles across the uninterrupted ocean.

“Are you out of your mind?” demanded the HideAway Capt “do you know what happens in the Gulf at night?”

“Well I do NOW!”

“How big were they?”

“ ‘Bout five feet”

“Your rode?”

“140 feet”


“AND everything in the boat was banging around ALL night long AND I was sick from the heat AND my stomach decided to take up acrobatics.”

“Did you sleep much?”

“Who could sleep at all with stuff falling off of places I didn’t know were occupied? Queried the queasy sailor. “I finally did gain unconscious bliss until something hit my face.

“Were you sleeping on the settee by the companionway?”

“Yeah and the hatch was open to get some air, then when I woke up and climbed up the steps I found I’d been boarded by a flock of pelicans!”

“Do you know what pelicans DO?"

“Well, you know, if you believe in reincarnation coming back as a pelican would be fun. They get to fly around all day, dive, fish and swim… Not a bad life.” Suggested the Capt.

“No, you idiot!” Snarled the solo seasick sailor, “They poop prodigiously.”


Do you mean you had prodigious, pelican poop all over your cockpit?”

“No, I had PUTRID, prodigious, pelican poop all over ME as I crawled up those steps!” Groaned the explorer

“Now I know what “Heave to” really means”

“Just out of curiosity,” the Capt winced “did you call your friends back yet?”

“Yeah, after the very best sailing sojourn I’d ever had turned into the worst in just a few hours I told them not to come – I’m selling the boat”

“Oh come on now” started the Capt. “that’s a bit over the top don’t you think?”

“Have you ever tried cleaning off petrified, putrid, prodigious, pelican poop on a sultry, stifling summer day???

Humans, Ya gotta Luv 'em

Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Sweltering Summer Sailing Story-SV HideAway Compac 23

A smarter than average person once said that, given the invention of ice boats, sailing the west central Florida coast in the August heat makes less sense than sailing the north eastern coast of Nebraska in January.

HideAway Under Tow

The Capt., a philosopher of no repute, observed that it’s really a matter of what you want to see in your truck’s mirror. A fully rigged sailboat, such as HideAway for instance, following you to the boat ramp or a picture of the same observed on a blog while surrounded by conditioned air in a cool place. I’ll leave any iceboat analogy to you for the moment.

Hopeful the forecasted sea breeze on Sail Flow would commence as scheduled the HideAways could not suffer the entrapment of air conditioning any longer and cast off lines. It was sunny last weekend. The sand on the beach offered 50 cent blisters for the feet of unwary souls. A light breeze blew in over the 93 degree Gulf of Mexico water equaling the actual air temperature and producing a dew point of 76 on a scale where anything over 70 is unbearable no matter how bare you may be. The concept of jumping overboard to cool off into water so hot that any activity in it can cause heat exhaustion is not a thought that occurs to the ice boater yet should be a warning to the soft water sailor.

A Hot Launch

Launching HideAway - Compac 23

Launching a sailboat in these conditions requires special equipment and daring-do. Heavy leather gloves prevent burns from handling the trailer hook-up for instance.

And other than removing the tie downs, nothing on board is prepared for sail.

The goal here is to launch and get out of the harbor as fast as possible then tie off the tiller motoring slowly stripping off the sail cover and hanking on the jib while dancing on the hot deck.

The risk of collision is slim with the knowledge that nobody could be as foolish as the HideAways to actually be on the water, busy as they are reading a blog with a picture of a sailboat framed in a truck mirror.

Although sailflow was right about the sea breeze, the air felt much like it does when you are engaged in shoveling coal into a large roaring furnace on a cold Nebraska winter night. The big genny did her stuff and HideAway leaned into the water at the prescribed angle for speed. The after sail burgers were great, the beer ice cold and the ceiling fans on full in the out door jasmine encased terrace. The HideAways laughed at told stories until well after sun down. A fine Florida sailing day without a hint of Jack Frost nipping at ones body parts.

Iceboats indeed!


Saturday, July 23, 2011

How To Plan a Sailboat Cruise

Congratulations! You've finally got that sailboat of your dreams AND managed to get it squared away enough to sail off over the horizon if only for a weekend.

Now What?

Even if your destination is just across the lake the trip will go better with a detailed plan.  After all you don't want to discover you left the extra gas can in the garage or worse, the life jackets!  After all you seek adventure not a survival story. Right?

A Fine Pine Island Plan does not seek to be an authority of navigational expertise nor is it necessarily the best idea ever conceived by modern man, but it has worked well for the HideAways over the years and that's enough. 

By the way the video assumes you would never embark on the journey without the proper US Coast Guard required safety gear.  But you already have all that stuff. 

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mermaids, Manatees & Magic - Sailing HideAway

The typical Florida summer day wraps around you like a steaming hot polyester blanket. The slightest effort rewards the brave sailor with sweat soaked clothing and a longing for a northern Minnesota lake on a summer afternoon.

SV HideAway Gulfport FL

Independence Day brings thoughts of colorful things that go boom in the night, barbeques, ice cold beverages, watermelon races and flying a large American flag off HideAways’ back stay while sailing on Boca Ciega Bay near Gulfport Fl.

Retiring from a summer sail, HideAway lingers at sea long enough to stow her sails and gear lessening the time spent in the sultry windless marina hauling the boat. Not to over state the conditions, folks in these parts have been known to jump into the water to dry off.

Sometimes it’s Good to Be in the Wrong Place at the Right Time

We weren’t supposed to be there. Neither were they. Not at that time. Not on that day. Not during that month however there we were backing HideAway around the tip of “B” dock for her temporary home last Fourth of July holiday weekend at Boca Ciega Yacht Club.

And there they were tucked under the shade of a dink hanging by davits attached to a large cruising catamaran. At first they looked like large islands of brown algae then one of the islands began to swim towards HideAway’s running outboard. I lurched for the kill switch reaching it in time to see a large Manatee and baby sniffing HideAways rudder.

Manatee & HideAway

Momma appeared to be on the long side of eight foot, her huge tail a yard or so wide slowly moving as she glided under HideAways stern to surface between the boat and the dock in a space that would make a claustrophobic human uncomfortable.

Gliding by HideAways transom with baby close behind, momma loved to rollover on her back and smile a goofy grin only another manatee or a star struck sailor would find attractive.

Manatees are smart and curious creatures adept at giving wide eyed humans hope that if something so big and gentle can live a good life eating only greens without worrying one bit about unemployment rates and oil futures to say nothing of nut case politicians, then maybe there is hope for mankind after all.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

The HideAways Lose Thier Nuts

One of the joys of trailer sailing in salt water is the post-sail wash down of every conceivable object that may have been exposed to the corrosive water. It can be a real zen moment on Florida's central West coast bathed in the sauna of a summer sun down spraying warm, there is no such thing as cold water from a hose here, all over oneself as well as the intended target.

The capt was engaged in this activity happily getting wet shooting water into the brake drums when he noticed he had lost his nuts. Yes it's true the years of exposure to the elements had completely corroded the nuts off the trailer shackle bolts leaving the suspension held on to the trailer by bolts that had become rusted nails.

Nut less shackle bolts aka rusted nails!

The thought of HideAway skipping down the interstate without wheels too horrible to contemplate, the search began for the easiest solution to the problem. In this era of Internet wonders it is not hard to find solutions to just about any problem. What you see however is not what you get.

Typical videos dealt with trailers that had never been close to salt water raised on a hoist in a mechanics’ shop among a mountain of proper tools for the job. “Well there’s no sense in trying to save those rusted bolts “claimed the mechanic “Let’s just cut them off with this cutting torch” A cutting torch. Yeah I must have one of those somewhere. “Now, some of the bolts you can just zip off with your wrench like this” Ratatat tat. My wrench sounds more like clink, klank, oww! And about that hoist….

The capt. being of the cheap sort had no interest in acquiring specialized tools that would probably gather dust after the project was completed. But cutting off fourteen rusted bolts in a parking lot with no shade during July in Florida was no job for a handheld hacksaw even with a new blade.

A trek to the capt’s favorite Home Depot was in order. This particular depot has something no other can boast – A 30,000 sf West Marine super store just across the parking lot. Between the two you can find most anything.

The cheapest angle grinder was about $30.00. For a single use project not a bad idea. Except it had no adjustments to accommodate the tight quarters of the trailer setting.

Ryobi Saves the Day

The capt chose the Ryobi AG452 4.5” angle grinder  that came with a case and various wheels. This model, while still cumbersome for the project has features like a rotating handle and blade guard that were ideal for the project. Then he grabbed a punch and a good ‘ole wham bang cold chisel along with some cutting disks

The rest of the armament for the project included extension cords, high velocity fan, a totally worthless beach umbrella, two sets of clothes, yes you do sweat that much, heavy gloves, towels, a gallon of Gatorade another gallon of juices and water, all consumed by the way along with two meals, all existing tools, hammers both steel and rubber as well as a plumbing torch, two jacks and jack stands and a step stool.

A second jack was used on to adjust each axle

The procedure was to crawl under bunk sit on the axle, set up the grinder and place towels on exposed body parts then cut the bolt.  The easy part done, the next job is to punch out the bolt.  Most of the bolts required heat, large hammers, a punch and pry bars.

We completed the project in about four hours start to finish largely due to the Ryobi. It took another four hours to extract the capt who was still sitting on an axle and wedged under a trailer bunk.

Fourteen bolts were replaced
Who knew sailing could be so much fun?


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Of Chain Saws, Navigation Tools and Sailing HideAway

"Betcha you're too chicken to see if that chain saw blade is sharp" said the thumb to the forefinger.   "Ha! You think think I'm that stupid?" the forefinger retorted.  "Well I can't 'cause I'm too short" The thumb replied.  "Besides that chain saw is four years old so the chain can't be that sharp - You're just too much of a wiener to try!"


When a day starts like that how can it get any better?  Well, for starters, after weeks of fruitless searching we found our lost navigation tools hiding in a brief case along side a desk.  I was not looking forward to replacing my new dividers and parallel rule that's for sure!

A brief case?  Really on a Compac 23?  No wonder the nav tools found a hiding place!

At last we can start editing our latest video.  Look for A Pine Island Plan coming  soon to a Utube channel near you.  

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

How To Shrink a Ford F150 And Launch Your Boat

Launching HideAway

Very low spring tides lead to extending the trailer tongue to its greatest length.

On the surface it would seem a longer trailer would be harder to maneuver, however I found the launching process much easier.

I asked my Teamster friend who explained that making the trailer longer actually makes my 17 foot long Ford F150 shorter. There is a good reason why those 18 wheelers have tractors as short as possible and why most trailers have moveable wheels. The relationship between tow vehicle length and the length of the trailer determines the turning radius. A tow vehicle shorter than the trailer makes the rig easier to maneuver.
What a concept!
See the video Launching HideAway How Hard Can It Be

Sunday, May 29, 2011

HideAway Makes a Cover

On a day when we realized all of our navigation gear has gone missing - Really how can you lose navigation instruments and expect ever to find your way home again??

Don't know but they are lost - Gotta appreciate the irony I suppose.

On a happier note the HideAway has made the cover of Boca Ciega Yacht Club's 2011 Directory - Cool eh?

We had just returned from a week long cruise to Anclote Key and Tarpon Springs arriving close to sundown we secured the boat in our slip at BCYC and went over to another dock to visit when I snapped this photo which has become a favorite. 

SV HideAway

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Don't Let Your Current Stray - Zinc It

Pennies do have some value after all. Leave one in an aluminum power boat and it will eventually sink the boat from corrosion. Suppose there is a market for aluminum jet skis with copper coin holders?

Stray Current Corrosion occurs when unprotected metal boat parts are exposed to stray current especially in salt water. Stray current comes from electrical faults in other boats or from the dock power system. Sacrificial anodes, zincs, protect the valuable boat parts in the water such as outboard motors from attack by the electrolysis fiend.

In this case the aluminum part of the kick up rudder was slightly submerged in the salt water marina aka battery fluid.

Keep Your Metal Protected - Zinc It! 

Where are the Sacrificial Anodes when you need them? On the outboard motor that was raised out of the water to keep sea creatures from making a home on it of course.

Another reason not to swim in marinas.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

The OOPS Factor - The HideAways Turn Oil Into Cream

Awhile ago we chronicled rebuilding the lower end of our 1994 Evinrude 8hp outboard motor in a series of videos on HideAways Utube channel.

The good news is the motor keeps its cool during the most stressful of times such as running horizontally during a recent heavy weather event on Tampa Bay as HideAway buried her rail for a lot longer than one would think possible.

Her exhausted, salt encrusted crew took two days to return HideAway to her trailer and two weeks to sew up her damaged sails and glue her dink back together.

Linda sews while two crew members watch

HideAway and the Dink locked rub rails

Then someone asked why Mr E, our faithful outboard, was hemoraging a cream colored substance from his lower end. The answer to which can be found below


Compac 23 V Berth Conversion

The V berth in my Compac 23 is a wide and spacious place originally designed as a double berth separated from the main cabin by a full bulkhead. For the cruising couple the V berth has one major flaw common in most boats of this size. Smack dab in the middle of the berth lurks the head which in most cases is a self contained Marine Sanitation Device. No doubt this is the best and only practical place to install such a device but it is a real pain in the neck if one of the berth’s occupants needs to use it at night. In addition, if you are using the V berth for sleeping where do you put your other stuff?

I happened upon the plans for a Cape Dory 25D.  The concept of sleeping in the V berth is abandoned in favor of using the space for the head and storage. Applying the concept to HideAway, I replaced the original porta pottie with a larger one rigged to use dockside pump out equipment. Not only does this mitigate the worst of the undesirable chores on HideAway it also provides an outside vent for the MSD. Then I developed and installed a sink with a cabinet added an electric water pump and plumbed the vanity to an unused thru hull.

SV HideAway Vanity

In cruising mode the V berth area is home to our main jerry jug water supply, extra sails, tools and supplies. Now all of our cruising gear and small coolers labeled by day of use can be stored in one place.

The early Compac 23s had no cabinetry beyond the sink/ companion way steps. While a bit stark compared to the Compac 23/IV that feature a slide out sink and galley with additional cabinetry along the settees.

Compac 23 IV port side

 The HideAway has human size settee berths that are comfortable for sleeping.

A fair trade off to me as the thought of cooking something below decks makes no sense to me and with the reconfigured V berth space the settee cabinets are unnecessary.

HideAway is the earliest known Compac of this design in existence.  

SV HideAway Compac 23 Hull #2
Now I can stand up to put on my pants – A decadent luxury.

Small Boats Rock!!

A Word from our cruising kitty-

 Classic Sailboat & Dink Mousepad
Browse for more mousepads from zazzle.com.

A nice thick mouse pad is hard to find.  
This on fills the bill-- 

Add your boat and text.  It's easy!  I did it!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Boca Ciega Yacht Club Open House

Looking for something fun to do Saturday?  Come on down to our sailing club for free sailboat rides and more at Boca Ciega Yacht Club’s Open house  1- 4pm Bring the kids old and young- go sailing – have a hot dog – paint your face – learn about the sailing life style and more!  www.sailbcyc.org

4600 Tifton Drive South
Gulfport Florida

Gulfport Marina

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Pine Island II

It’s only 17 miles from HideAways berth in Gulfport Fl to Pine Island near Apollo Beach according to our ancient GPS. The math is easy; distance divided by speed concludes the trip will take about 4 hours. Factor in the weather and wind speed and maybe add an hour or so for the safety factor and we find a mid afternoon arrival in the realm of some reality.

The HideAway carries her navigation table in a three ring binder containing large font course plans for various expected wind as well as tide and weather forecasts for the period. In addition each course has been plotted on a water proof paper chart with detailed notes. Her crew are equally well versed in the plans’ details and are prepared to take over navigation duties at a moments notice.

Despite passing St. Petersburg and anchoring fairly close to Apollo Beach there is little opportunity to replenish supplies of gas on this cruise. A refueling stop would add too much time to the trip therefore the HideAways carried nearly nine gallons of gas, should extended use of the motor be required. She returned with less than one gallon in her tank.

Sailing like a scalded cat across Boca Ciega Bay at 6 kn/GPS while pulling our East Port Pram brought large smiles to the HideAways. Seventeen other boats of the fleet sailing out of Boca Ciega Yacht Club stretched across the bay like a work of art Saturday morning. After a slight delay getting under Structure “C” the fleet proceeded along the ICW past St Pete Beach to the next drawbridge to the East with the inspired name of Structure “E” that separates Tierra Verde island from the mainland.

In the good old days each bridge raised on the twenties so a boat would have little delay making both bridges. Given the strong currents around “E” this was an important benefit. Then some Bozo from the State of Florida decided to put “E” on the halves in favor of the wealthy home owners on Tierra Verde. (We have the best government money can buy apparently.)

To be continued...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

A Pine Island Plan for Treasure

Somewhere in the vast wilderness of Tropical Western Florida lies a point in paradise code named Pine Island.  Local legend asserts the island formed not from discarded clam shells as many are, but from cast aluminum apparently in the shape of pine trees if the fable is to be believed. 

Always up for an adventure especially ones that involve sailing, legends and aluminum treasure, Gold is sooo heavy you know!  The HideAways mission is to seek out the truth of this local tale with gusto.

The Plan

Steal away in the darkness of a predawn day ahead of the other sailors on faster boats with the same gleam in their eyes, secure the vast aluminum treasure in Hideaway's hold of secrets and hide the treasure in South East North Dakota far to the west.

The Problem

Where the heck is this place?  The parable states it is in a  "Est toou airey"  where fire sticks are seen in the sky and the ground trembles with fear and no canoe returns from the forbidden shores of Pointy Glad.  Why can't legends be written in plain language?

A massive search of the known archives of the universe reveal no such place or island.  Nor is it named on any chart produced by the US Government. A conspiracy perhaps or just the usual negligence?

The Breakthrough

Late on a night with a ringed moon the capt received a communication from his shady past concerning a map buried in an old whiskey bottle long ago under a carrot tree at a local well known sailing establishment.

Now we all know you cannot just show up with a shovel in hand and start digging something up at a well known sailing establishment.

 A Deception Needed was Found!

"I know just the thing,  We'll build a huge brick patio and call it the Sea Breeze." The First Mate espoused "Nobody will suspect a thing!"

A carrot tree????

To be continued . . . .

Sunday, February 13, 2011

HideAway Has a Postage Stamp!

Yep - It's true the HideAways now have a real US postage stamp -- How cool is that?

I didn't know this was in the realm of possibility but it is.  Just follow the link to see it and make your own.

SV HideAway US Postage Stamp

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sailing with a Loose Foot - Compac 23 - Update

SV HideAway - Compac 23

Most sailboats including the HideAway, a Compac 23, arrive from the factory with the main sail foot firmly installed in the boom.   Most have some sort of adjustment for the outhaul but in the real sailing world it is often slightly better than non-functional.

Last spring we freed HideAway from the bonds of the in-boom foot, attached a three part tackle to the clew and set out to explore the strange new world of the Loose Foot.

Well, the results are in and I won't bore you with the degrees of improved weather heading or knots gained except to say that our most favored sail, the 150 genny stayed bagged all summer.  For the first time in sixteen years we did not need it.

The immediate result of the loose foot
 is the taming of the weather helm beast that inhabits shallow draft fixed keel boats like the HideAway.  The second is a noticeable ability to point embarrassingly high for a boat of this nature and the third is the ability to leave the tiller for long periods of time with the rustic self steering unit consisting of a spring and some lines in charge.   The last was the ratio of wind speed to hull speed.  Consistently turning 5 knots in light air.

New Outhaul Adjustment HideAway - Compac 23

What We Have Learned So Far

As the apparent wind approaches 15kn the mainsail must be flattened bringing along with it a taste of weather helm.  As we approach 20 kn weather helm monster returns mollified somewhat by reefing.

Worse, the stock configuration of the outhaul adjustment is located at the rear of the boom. The real adventure begins standing on the transom without hindering the helmsperson and hanging onto the back stay while the boat heels to its 25 degree sweet spot.  Since the capt is not inclined to enjoy swimming with the sharks, yet nearly did so, a solution became a high priority.

You can throw a ring farther than a horseshoe

The issue of involuntarily leaving the boat has long been ignored on HideAway  

After some research and advice, the addition of a throw ring gave the HideAways a hint of peace of mind and something to hang onto when deployed swimming on a hot summer day. 

Adding a cleat on the boom just abaft the vang removed the thrill of hanging from the end of said boom in exciting sea conditions in favor of adjusting the outhaul from the secure cockpit.

A fact of life on a 23 foot sailboat, no matter how well designed, is scarcity of transom real estate what with the swim ladder, rudder and outboard.  The least objectionable space for the throw ring proved to be to port just above the outboard and apparently too close to the GPS antenna. The new throw ring had either confused the GPS or magnetic North had moved a significant distance East, and interestingly, South.  Another story for another day.

Perhaps a NACA12 rudder redesign should be the next project to tame the weather helm beast.   Stay tuned...

Monday, January 17, 2011

BCYC Hootenanny 2010 Gulfport Florida USA

I didn't intend to make this video.  I left the good camera at home and was stuck with my ancient Kodak (dx6340 if you must) that suffers from some of the same conditions I do in that it hardly opens one eye in the morning and makes strange sounds at inappropiate times.

This video will likely disappoint those interested in the fine blue grass sounds of the Ibuprophan Band since I didn't find the video button in time, however the Generation Gap has been picked up by Florida Music Videos and are gaining popularity in some pretty far flung places.  Road Trip!

Another disappointment is that the World Famous Cooler Drop didn't film well even though the camera is very experienced the operator sounds like an over-served popular big band leader from North Dakota 60 years ago who may have had a rock in his remaining shoe..... anddaa Onnnnnnnne  ANDA twurp..

The Ibuprophan Band and the Generation Gap are all BCYC sailors who love to play music when they aren't sailing and do a great job of both. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Hanky Panky Yankee

As we drove up to the club house on Easter Sunday morning we realized parking was going to be difficult and the noise from the club house indicated an unusually lively party was well underway.

The party was a celebration of life of Henry Kemp. Linda had never met Henry and I only knew him as a fellow Boat Captain in the service of the club's Sailing School. We were perhaps the most uneducated people in the room in matters pertaining to Henry.

My memories of Henry began with both of us looking for the only two extra large life jackets supplied by BCYC Sailing School. Once we were properly attired he’d say “Let’s go have some fun today!” and off we’d go.

Henry was a Hanky Panky Yankee

A microphone was passed around and the stories began with Henry’s niece who called him the “Hanky Panky Yankee” in memory of his many escapades in younger years. Henry and his brother liked to jump off a certain bridge into the river. She said the town cops could never catch them because Henry always had someone in a boat below, or so it seemed until one day it was a police boat stationed below and the young miscreants were detained.

The Neighborhood Improvement Committee

Henry was a bit of a joker as well. One speaker told the story of getting phone calls from someone claiming to be the “Neighborhood Improvement Committee” calling to inform him of things he needed to do to keep his house up to “standards”.

He noticed that the phone calls coincided with the appearance of Felicity, Henry’s sailboat, and one day he decided to make a statement. Knowing that Henry usually sailed alone, the hapless home owner stripped off his clothes in his water front yard, turned around and touched his toes only to hear hoots and howls of laughter coming from Felicity.

He said there was not one place on the entire boat not covered with people pointing and laughing at him and Henry was the most vocal of them all.

A tearful thin man took the microphone

and said that Henry took him sailing on Felicity even though he was a confirmed power boater. I won’t name this person or any others as you may know them, however the story he told us that Easter Sunday continues.

“Go to the bow” Ordered Henry


“Just do it”

“OK, now what?”

“Lay down”

“What for?”

“Just do it”

“OK, now what?”

“Shut Up!”

The speaker’s voice broke as he barely whispered into the microphone

 “That was the first time I heard the water.”

He said Henry explained later that what he heard for the first time in his life was serenity and he had a choice to make. “Henry saved my life that day” he said. And as you might guess Henry’s lessons had more to do with life than they did with sailing.

Henry saved my life

We began to notice that nearly everyone who spoke began with or said that “Henry saved my life”. Realization gradually came to us that these were the people Henry saved from drugs and alcohol and that he was able to do this because he was one of them.

It solved the mystery as to why the large crowd was so joyful and sad and loud on this solemn Easter Sunday morning: They were following his advice.

“Let’s go have some fun today!”

-Henry Kemp