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Free Range Human, Sailor, Writer, Artist, Videographer  

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Single Axle Trailer or Teeter-Totter?

One of the cool things about being a member of a sailing club is the sailboats and owners of same spending weekends together working on their boats.  After HideAway acquired her trailer, her capt, that would be me, has a fine view of such endeavors from her deck.  

A yell followed by loud crash brought me up the forward hatch to see a Catalina 22 bow reaching high into the air as her owner hung from her transom in an unsuccessful attempt to slow the boats' return to sea level. The single axle trailer usually had concrete blocks to prevent the teeter totter effect but something went awry.  Neither the capt nor the equipment suffered any injury more serious than embarrassment.


 Concrete blocks are made to support things that cannot move, like house foundations, the blocks are not the best choice for things that often do, such as single axle boat trailers.    Concrete blocks are strongest when the two holes vertically support the load on its exterior walls, rather than horizontal as above. Not to mention their weight.  Using concrete blocks is an accident waiting to happen.
 Other than finding a double axle trailer, that doubles the fun, auto jack stands are popular.  I often use jack stands when working on my trailer.  While they don’t move easily with a load on them, I would hesitate to employ them to steady the trailer while I’m on the boat for fear that my movements may knock them over.

I'm much too old to be  riding a nautical teeter-totter

Auto Jack Stands Help

Today I noticed that I have a new slip neighbor. A 22 Capri sitting on a single axle trailer.  I haven’t met the owner yet, but he has come up with a interesting solution to the teeter totter problem. 
Folding Trailer Tongue Jack 

Folding Trailer Tongue Jack

Since the tongue jacks stay attached to the trailer you don’t have to be concerned knocking one over as you move about the boat.  The jack stand features a swivel to allow trailering. It might be better to have a jack with a flat foot rather than the wheel since you really can't move boats of this weight around much.
Looks like a winner and it's less costly than a second axle.  Such a deal!
Your results may vary.  


Wood & Leaves USB Flash Drive
Wood & Leaves USB Flash Drive by NaturesWonders
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Sunday, November 23, 2014

Florida Wildlife Commission Anchoring Survey

FWC, Florida Wildlife Commission, also known by less flattering names, has decided that a survey of Florida boaters’ use of Florida waters might be helpful in drafting legislation. A scary thought or a good idea?

I Took the Survey

The survey begins with an informative video outlining the next 30 minutes of your day.
Each section, there are six, is preceded by a short audio recording explaining the reasoning behind questions that follow. The topics covered are relevant to all boaters using Florida waters. The survey’s first question deals with Florida residency.  A good start.  

A Thought Provoked

The questions are difficult.  For instance, one asks if all local governments should follow whatever the state legislature passes with little or no ability to adapt the law to local conditions.  On the surface the local governments, city & county, probably should have a say in how their waters are managed.  There are 22 communities in my county.  How can anyone be expected to know and comply with all the variables likely to develop?  From my perspective I’d rather have one set of rules than 22, but then I don’t live in a coastal community.  Wait, yes I do, but the waters are only suited for kayaks and canoes. Hmmm…

Looking for Common Sense

Quite a bit of the survey is common sense or at least an attempt to achieve it.  Did you know that you can anchor your boat at the end of the boat ramp, travel lift or as close to someone’s house as you like?  With the possible exception of the travel lift, I can’t imagine anyone would want to in the first place.  You are then asked to specify the number of feet from the house/ramp/boat lift that would be acceptable.  (The survey loudly hints at 150 feet)

A Nit Pick or a Bias?

One thing I did not like about the survey is the example photos.  The section that deals with derelict boats features a photo of a mostly sunk sailboat replete with beard, a good example of the derelict boat problem.  The section that deals with the length of time a compliant boat can “stored” at anchor uses a photo of another sailboat that has obvious cosmetic damage, but not neglect.   Most compliant anchored boats I have observed are not damaged while many derelicts’ conditions are pretty obvious, if not by sight then certainly by smell.  The photos infer that there is not much difference between the two.   There are no photographic examples of power boats.  Surely there must be at least one power boat of questionable condition in this large state.

In any event, as a responsible Florida boater you should take the survey.  It raises important problems you need to think about. 

Besides, if you don’t participate in the answer you loose the right to complain later.

 Here’s the survey link 

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Remembering Elaine

Many years ago Elaine and I sat on the porch at Boca Ciega Yacht Club in Gulfport, Fl.discussing something about the finer points of sailing the old Day Sailor I boats used in the Sailing School at the time.  The discussion rambled on as they are wont to do.  Then Elaine backed her chair away from the table, stood up and announced that we were going sailing. 

A Bit of Perspective

I grew up on the Great Plains; North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Kansas.  They all have one thing in common. There are no natural lakes in any of them.  Not one.  Sailors were as common as Hippies at a National Republican convention.  Elaine and Pim lived on a boat larger than several of the dwellings Linda and I had occupied.  Elaine sailed the oceans, we “sailed” in gravel pits aboard a Styrofoam boat with a large hole in the bottom.  Elaine was a licensed ships Captain with a capitol “C”… I possessed a North Dakota driver’s license circa 1962. 

Intimidated??  OH YEAH!

We grabbed one of the O’days docked at the pier.  Somehow I was the first at the tiller; must have been a moment of gallantry or something.  I managed to sail out of the channel keeping the crew and vessel intact.  (Fear focuses the mind.)  Out on the bay we found the most perfect day there could ever be.   Sunny skies, warm but not hot, a light chop, and most importantly, a robust westerly with no calms.  Perfection that meant screaming reaches clear across the bay on one tack.   We took turns at the helm, hiked out as far as we dared, tacking and gibing, with big grins and loud hoops we tore up the bay all afternoon.  Tired, drenched, and happy we were eventually forced to sail back to the dock.

The last time I saw Elaine we were relaxing on the Sea Breeze Patio when she asked me if I remembered that sail we took so long ago.  I said yes, but before I could say more, she told me how intimidated she was asking me to sail with her.  As I continued my very good impression of a deer in the headlights, she went on to explain that compared with all my sailing experience (Ha!) she was the novice!

We laughed long and hard when the truth was known!   Neither one of us could remember the original discussion, but it really doesn't matter.  We had shared a special time together and were friends ever since.

 I miss you Elaine.

I know when the sun is out and the wind is up you’ll be with us on those screaming reaches on Boca Ciega Bay.

SV HideAway

Fair winds my friend..

Sunday, September 28, 2014

A 200 Yard Cruise – Blowing Away on Labor Day

Sailing on the Labor Day weekend in Florida pretty much guarantees steamy heat with no wind and bath water temperature in Boca Ciega Bay.   For the HideAways it means a three day weekend during which, by golly, we will be sailing and spending the night at anchor sleeping on deck pretending to be cool.  

Launching SV HideAway
SV HideAway Goes To The Sea
After a deliberately late launch in the hot sun Mr. E, our sleepy outboard motor, delivered us to Boca Ciega Bay at a slow idle to allow for the sail raising-deck clearing ceremony we all know by heart.  Full main and the 150 genoa were ordered by the capt.  While the crew fidgeted with the big genoa, the capt tied off the tiller and set about removing the dock protection devices, stowing the sail cover, and running the jib lines.  Up went the main sail – then the jib, followed closely by the dismissal of Mr. E.

The Legend Has It Wrong: The Moon Is Not Made Of Swiss Cheese.

Boca Ciega Bay is. HideAway found one of the holes.  Cat’s paws and ripples circled the windless waters around the HideAways.  The sails hung like wet laundry.   The crew had a lot in common with the morning dew.   Mr. E chuckled, or maybe it was a burble, the capt was too miserable to investigate.  Boats not far distant were heeling over, their sails filled with wind. The HideAway filled with heat.  Finally, we drifted close enough to the wind to exceed 2kn of exciting forward motion.  Then more and more until HideAway slid to a stop in another slice of cheese.

Hope was building East by South.  The summer storms promised cool sailing-quality air soon.  Mood on board picked up with the freshening wind.  After a delightful reach to the eastern bay we dropped the jib when we neared the anchored fleet of holiday optimists.  The capt sailed around the boats, found a choice spot and tacked up wind to let the crew drop anchor just off Clam Bayou.  Then, back-winding the main sail, set the anchor.  The depth finder read 5 feet at mid tide and we were off the Gulfport channel far enough for only the most persistent wakes to find us. 
Sailing HideAway Navigation Binder
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Only two things matter when you’re sailing –

The Here and The Now – Especially the Now Part

We enjoyed an early supper as the sky darkened and began to swirl.  The first water spout formed a few hundred yards away bearing down on us.  The ugly, evil thing was large and strong; a true “Oh s---” moment.   The crew ducked below.  The capt grabbed his camera. The water spout vanished.  The VHF blared another warning.  

The bay turned angry throwing waves and white caps with abandon.   HideAway heeled over 30 degrees and spun on her anchor in the wind.   A wall cloud slid by dangling two large funnel clouds from which several small tornadoes hopped out and back like hairy roots on a carrot.  Chaos reigned.  The capt noticed a bird flying, against all odds, directly into the storm.  We watched as it gained then lost ground flying backwards.  Still, the bird pushed on.  

The storm passed.  Cool air, by Florida summer standards, prevailed accompanied by one of the most dramatic sunsets in memory.

The HideAways sunk into soft air mattresses in the cockpit and pondered the night sky.  The wind slept.  The no see ums flew over from Clam Bayou to snack on exposed skin. The HideAways retreated to the protection of the fan below.  The night seemed much longer than normal. 
Up Early

After breaking fast the crew, unable to raise the anchor, wrapped the shortened rode around the big forward cleat as the capt sailed over the buried anchor under main sail alone.  The anchor broke free.  Falling off the wind we sailed through the fleet on the cool-morning land breeze raising the genoa underway.  Soon HideAway reached the breath taking speed of 5kn touring the bay until the solar-powered furnace fired up for another attempt at baking the foolish.  The HideAways beat a hasty retreat to air conditioning. 

On the way home the crew observed that we had been on our 200 yard cruise exactly 24 hours. 

Sunset Gulfport Fl SV HideAway
Fire In The Sky Gulfport FL Aboard  SV HideAway 

Thursday, September 25, 2014

When Is It Time to Stop Sailing? Consider This..

Does your boat looks more at home on a sea of green grass than a sea of green?

Day Sailor I hard aground in a sea of grass

Sailing in a sea of green -- grass!

Sometimes Its Important to Get Away. .

Get away from sailing. Develop other interests.  Ponder deep thoughts. Consider your place in the universe. Smell a rose. Kiss a gnome. Find a guru. Trouble your mind.

Be Thee Warned!

Photo of weeds growing in a sailboat by SV HideAway

The Weeds Of The World Invade

If you stay aground too long the weeds of the world may invade your cockpit or worse; take root in your mind.  The next thing you know you’ll be growing grapes on your back-yard clothes line.

Chasing the Dream is One Thing...

Small sailboats racing- Original water color by Matt Maloy

Member: Dream Chaser's Anonymous 

Sailing Towards One is Quite Another

Go Sailing  Now My Friend - Before It's too La

Keep Calm - Sail On!

Saturday, July 26, 2014

GPSMAP 640/ Depth Finder Swing Mount

I set out to design a swing arm for my Garmin GPSMAP 640 that would include the depth finder. There are, no doubt, more expensive and modern solutions available, neverthelessI like the look of wood on a boat. Especially if it lives out of the weather.   
First Off  -  I am Not a Carpenter!

Garmin GPS MAP 640 w/ Depth Finder Swing Arm

 Considering the cost of the GPS, the risk of damage to the unit is an important concern.  The design is a simple "T" made from 1 x 4 fir, ship lapped and epoxied, then attached to a solid brass door hinge mounted on a home made magazine rack.  Be sure to leave space between the companion way access and the edge of the GPS and plan your wire and cable route carefully.  It would have been better, in this instance, to mount the arm on the starboard side to be closer to the panel box and transducer however, the magazine rack is on the port side and readily available.   Note how the GPS cable extends into the companion way creating a possibility of snagging it on something.  So far it has not been an issue. 

 The ship lap does not extend to the end of the vertical piece. There is no reason for this, I just liked the idea of an undisturbed edge.   I'm sure anyone with average skills can produce a better looking result but this side of the mount is not visible from the cockpit.  If anybody notices it - Well, the Complaint Department is located at the end of the plank, starboard side, should anybody  want  to comment about my  carpentry skills. 

SV HideAway GPS / depth finder swing mount

The arm swings fully back on its hinge and is held in place by a line from the back of the mount to a wood inspection hole cover.  The line is loose to allow some movement if bumped.

Yes, those are hinge screws protruding on the face of the unit.  They have been filed smooth and are not visible when the arm is deployed. (Comments are accepted at the Complaint Desk above.)

Solid brass door hinge - reversed pin -note angle
The magazine rack follows the slope of the cabin wall.  In order to compensate I angled the hinge to produce a level arm.  Some day I may finish the end of the arm, but not today.

Line from back of display keeps the unit to front
 The line holding the arm to the front has a bit of slack that serves as a sort of warning should you collide with it.  The mount looks crooked in this photo, but if memory serves I made the correction later.   On a small sailboat such as HideAway, level and plumb are more concepts than reality.

Line from back of display secured 
 When not in use the line used to hold the arm open is employed along with a shorter line to hold the arm inside the cabin.  That way the arm does not swing wildly about during launching and it keeps the expensive stuff out of the weather.

In the interest of maximum security, I thru bolted  the GPS mount with stainless steel bolts rather than using wood screws.   I let the bolts run long so I could attach the swing arm control lines.

GPS Mount is Thru-Bolted
 The electrical wires and cables are not contained. I routed them under the sink top edge, around the back to the panel box or in the case of the depth finder, along and under the settees.  Since I installed the depth finder on the starboard side, the depth finder cable and wiring had to run through five bulk heads.  A real pain to accomplish, however the potential hole-in-boat problems, the vanity sink drain and the transducer, are isolated from other storage areas and have good access in case of an emergency.  See the Video Here

GPSMAP 640 Swing Mount w/ Depth Finder 

The GPSMAP 640 plastic mount has a interesting feature.  The mount swivels at the center.  (See the knob in the center of the mount.) The knob allows the unit to turn when you bump it saving damage to the GPS and mount.  A nice feature on a rough day. 

This is a simple woodworking project that someone with little carpentry skills, that would be me, can complete to a reasonably functioning level.  The swing mount has been in service for more than a year without difficulties or safety issues. 

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Electrolysis and Your Out Board Motor

Do you tend to leave your lower end in the water?

Here's something to think about:

Sailing HideAway
Electrolysis Damage to Lower End 

Salt water, in particular, with a little stray current and time can be a real pain in your lower end.
Notice the angle of the damage- The motor was not tipped fully out of the water.

Sailing HideAway
Maybe the Top End can be saved
 The only good news here is the top end, the thing with  the electronics and pistons, look pretty good.  Still, this will put a smile on any mechanics face and a frown on the owner's.

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Rub Rail Installation SV HideAway

Hiking out HideAway Style?

Commonly known as a NRRS; New Rub Rail Snake, came coiled in an innocent looking cardboard box from Com Pac Yachts of Clearwater Fl.

New improved rub rail from Com Pac Yachts

The old rub rail succumbed to a fuel dock near Johns Pass. The incident involving  a large commercial fishing boat wake propelled by an excited tide racing for the Gulf of Mexico heaved the HideAways’ against the dock with far more enthusiasm than prudence permits.

The New Rub Rail Is Of Much Improved Quality

 The very thing that made installing it a most challenging affair.

Replacement rub rail on left is larger than OEM on right

bow plate too small for new rub rail SV HideAway
Bow Plate does not fit new rub rail

The radius of the metal connector is too small to accommodate the new rub rail.

The only viable solution involved surgery and language unsuited for gentile ears.

New Rub Rail - Right - is larger and thicker

I removed the interior lower flanges on the new rub rail (right) and narrowed the distance from the hull by trimming the upper flanges.

I also trimmed the two "legs" to let the rub rail move closer to the hull and allow for clamping.

Sailing HideAway
Clamp and Awl 
The trimmed end is best held in place by a good C clamp until you can find the correct alignment to slip the bolt through. Good luck with that. The awl worked well but it does take patience.

By the way,  I used a leather hole punch to install the holes in the rub rail. 

“Jist leave it in the sun for a piece  –
 It’ll stretch real easy”

Clamps Clamps and More Clamps Are Needed
Thus a simple two bolt project turned into two days of sweltering fun under a summer sun so hot that only a few moments’ exposure made metal tools too hot to handle without protection, not to mention the HideAways.

Now, about the port side…..
Small Boats Rock!

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Replacing a Tongue Extender Pin What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Sailing HideAway Com Pac 23
Rusted Tongue Extender Pin  SV HideAway
Loading the last of the tools from a just finished project into the truck, a glob of rust on the trailer caught my eye.  The rust glob appeared just where the shiny tongue extender pin should be.   A rust glob is never a welcome sight on a sailboat trailer, or anyplace else for that matter.  A couple of taps with a hammer broke the pin free, leaving a small pile of rusted tongue extender pin bits on the ground.

Sailing HideAway Com pac 23
Tongue Extender Pin or Hitch Pin?
 History was made when my friend, Mr. Google, could not find a “6 inch trailer tongue extender pin”.  After learning about a variety of trailer accessories I’ll never need, I concluded no such device exists in the digital universe.  I eventually discovered a trailer hitch pin with a strong family resemblance to my tongue extender pin, sans the red stuff, available for a big pile of the green stuff.

After some deliberation I realized that something made for a trailer hitch located well up under the truck is an unlikely candidate for salt water immersion.   After all, if you’ve got your truck in that deep, you have more problems than a rusted tongue extender pin.   

Something Galvanized Preferably Hot Dipped

A 5/8 x 6 inch hot dipped galvanized bolt and nut shall likely replace the shiny orange handled creation of yore.  Yes inches, I haven’t a care to know how many millimeters the rest of the world envisions.  Besides, a millimeter sounds like a name for nasty bug with lots of legs and sharp teeth.

A Wiggle – A Shake – and A Break

Given that we hadn’t planned to launch the boat without a pin in our extended tongue, the polite thing to do would be to retract the tongue extender to prevent injury to patrons and or vehicles of guests coming in hordes to our sailing club annual open house the next weekend. 

Sailing HideAway Com-pac 23
A Jammin Tongue Extender - What Next?
This good deed left the tongue extender jammed in its carrier.

Of course no sailor can possibly resist the temptation to pull and jerk a bit on the tongue in some vain hope of an easy fix.  A crash and a bang and another project was born.

Com pac 23 SV HideAway
One Good Jerk Did This

In less than five minutes a simple project became a triple threat

A jack and stand wrestled out of my over crowded garage along with a box of anticipated useful tools to complement the ship board collection and a found trailer jack, slightly bent, made up the kit for part one of the project. 

Sailing HideAway Com pac 23
Floor Jack Placed Directly Under Tongue Support
  I never trust just a jack to keep anything up in the air for long.  A sturdy jack stand(s) are a must.   In this case I had to carefully place the jack and the stand beneath the tongue extender supports.

I use an automotive floor jack for jobs such as this.  My only complaint is that the jack wheels allow the jack to move as the jack is activated.  Sometimes several attempts must be made to center the piece properly on the stand.  Once set, I leave the jack under some pressure with most of the weight supported by the stand.

Finally, all jacked and stable, I moved on to removing the broken trailer jack to find the bolts holding it on the trailer tongue were METRIC.  

Why can’t the rest of the world adopt good ole SAE measurements?

Of course not one of my few metric wrenches or sockets came along for the trip.   According to my Garmin GPS MAP640 my dwelling is seven miles as the GPS flies from HideAways bow.  In Florida time, this is about 47 minutes of joy filled driving on crowded, tourist-infested roads.   

I knew the trip would be futile exercise in bad traffic manners so a side trip was in order to look for the pin and also price trailer fenders – Always have another project-You never know when you will need one.   Yes, my venerable tape measure came up short a couple of inches and no, I did not procure any fenders, long or short. Yet.

Relaxed from all the slow driving and lost tourists;

 I discovered NONE of my small collection of metric tools fit the bolts

SV HideAway Compac 23
A Jim-Dandy Universal Bolt Removal Tool
Using Come-A-Long Winch To Remove Tongue Extender

After finishing these repairs, I gave a fearful tug or two on the frozen tongue extender before resorting to the almighty Come-Along Winch and a pick up truck to effect its removal.

You can see how well that idea worked out in this video.  


Saturday, May 17, 2014

US Coast Guard Vessel Safety Check

You Should Get One of These

SV HideAway Passed
  It's free. It's educational and helpful.  Or to put it another way- Do you know where your flares are?  What about that first aid kit you may have put back on board after your camping trip? Have you blown your horn recently, or know where it is? How about that fire extingusher you have somewhere?

Your local US Coast Guard Auxiliary provides this service.  Sure they inspect things like Fire Extinguishers, Life Jackets, Navigation lights, Sound Producing Devices and the like.

  Things you never think about until something goes wrong.  

Like, maybe a pontoon boat suddenly turns and T-bones your boat, which sinks before your mayday is answered -Stuff like that.  (This accident happened last week on Boca Ciega Bay near Gulfport Fl when the pontoon boat operator dropped something and turned the boat as he bent down to pick up whatever he dropped - Care to guess if it was a cell phone?)

There is no risk.  The do not issue tickets if you're missing something.  And the inspector, usually a fellow boater, gives a good review of basic safe boating practices.    Your Coast Guard Auxiliary sponsers good boating classes to boot.  

Get Yours Today
Local sailing or boating clubs often host Vessel Safety Checks or  Click Here to Schedule a Safety Check


Wednesday, May 7, 2014

The Vanity and the Thru Hull

The Original Thru-Hull Access Hole
Thru-hulls always has long been the cause of notable anxiety on the HideAway, likely because one of the two in existence, the one the bilge pump is attached to, failed while sailing off shore.

Sailing HideAway Videos
It began innocently enough; the idea of having a sink and vanity in the forepeak next to the head.

The vanity sits on top of what was a storage access.  The fit is perfect with just enough room to accommodate the sink basin, tubing and electrical wires for the water pump.  Below the sink lurks the depth finder transducer, another large hole in the boat.  With two large holes in close proximity, the area has been declared off limits for storage of anything other than a wooden plug.

The Cure Leads To Another Problem.

While the vanity has been a welcome addition on cruises, the Capt. uses it more often to empty the  rain buckets  from under five of Hideaways’ six ports.   Always vigilant, the Capt. has been known to tear open the vanity top in search of excess humidity, not realizing he was causing the drain tube to crack on both ends. 

Sink Drain Repair Sailing HideAway

Obviously a better method of leak checking technology was necessary. Enter the thought of a small access just forward of the vanity.   

Join the HideAways as we cut yet another hole in the boat.


Saturday, April 12, 2014

An Out-of-Doors Experience

We learned from uncounted generations that the best way to experience all the natural world has to offer is from something that floats, or possibly in a pinch, a remote campsite in a distant place.

Folks who study this phenomenon have not been able to explain why we humans are convinced, beyond rationality, that whatever is just beyond our reach must be better than what we have at the moment.    

HideAway has been hard aground 

because of a patio construction project.   No, she’s not getting a patio, and she is not happy about it.  When at last we found and laid the final brick we celebrated the achievement by having our evening meal on our new veranda.  

It was late on a warm spring afternoon.  The sun was low in the sky partially shielded by our sun-fence, a group of oaks planted years ago.   Linda pointed to a hawk doing lazy circles on a thermal far above us. 
The soaring hawk was high enough that the rays of the setting sun illuminated it from underneath.   The hawk’s wings and body glowed golden, then silver, as it glided in the light, all the while surrounded by an impossibly blue sky.  A slight wind mixed with jasmine and orange blossoms held us captive in their intoxicating fragrance. 

The moment could not have been more perfect

When your days are harsh and troubles seem none stopping, as many have recently, it’s good to remember that every now and then nature will provide a soothing moment of breath taking beauty and peace. 

Perhaps in your own back yard -- Just outside of your doors.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Bridge Sailing - Why Not?

A warm, sunny, spring day with clear skies and just enough wind. 

A perfect day to sail under a bridge; Don't you think?

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sailing to the End of Life

What began as a camera test evolved into a story of life on  the water and all its challenges, joys and beauty.  

So come join us as we say goodby to an old friend.

  It's a long film, full of all the above, but that's the way life should be - Don't you think?

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Chesapeake Light Craft St Petersburg 2015

Sailing HideAway
Sailing HideAway

If you've seen any of our Sailing HideAway cruising videos (and you should, you know) you've noticed our wooden dink happily following the HideAway on our cruises along the West coast of Florida.  

What you may not know is that our pram is a kit boat from Chesapeake Light Craft.  I had great fun building it in our garage over a decade ago.  It's been towed and rowed hundreds of miles and has the scars to prove it. Although it needs some TLC it has held up well over the years.

When winters up north gets bad enough CLC takes a road trip to sunny Florida with many of their kayaks and boats in tow.  This next weekend, 2/07/15 from 10-4pm. they will be along the Gandy Bridge near St Petersburg, Fl. (southwest portion of the Gandy Bridge St Petersburg side.)   You can't miss it - Its where all the smiles are   

Even better, all you need is a life jacket and you can try out any boat you wish.  It's the perfect way to get acquainted with your dream boat.  

 Don't forget to sail the East Port prams - You'll be hooked fast! 

Anclote Key Florida 


Friday, February 7, 2014

The Pelican and the Fish Head

Pelican Sick and the Fish Head

I didn’t see the pelican, honest.  Mr E and I were busy warping the HideAway backwards around C Dock.  We had been out on a day sail with family visiting from Alaska along with our daughter and beau from Chili.  It was a beautiful day on our favorite bay, however as the wind grew, conversation became difficult.  Stories of moose, bear and Chilean culture became lost amid growling commands to come about or gybe amid fervent discussion of reefing or heading to port.  The decision was to port and Mr E, our gasoholic, out board was happy to take us there. 

I suppose it should be noted here that one questionable feature of the Gulfport Fl channel is a fish cleaning station and its proximity that is closer to our destination than desired.  Fishermen, or fisherpersons if you are of that persuasion, clean their catch throwing the fishy remains to the flock of various birds gathered in the channel for a handout. 

Sailing HideAway
The Pelicans Of Gulfport Florida Channel

Our pelican was one of the beggars.  Proving it was not choosey; the pelican received a fish head of epic dimensions then retired to the unattended C dock for rumination and other biological contemplations.

A loud, strangled squawk hung in the heavy air after the pelican flew to avoid the HideAway after lightening his load depositing said fish head on C dock.  The fish head fell to the dock at the precise point where a sailor person would stand to warp a boat around the dock. 

The Fustiest Fish Head This Side of the Universe

A Fusty Fish Head

Or at least southeast Gulfport 
waited the foot of an unsuspecting sailor.

Have you seen the latest boat shoe fad?  Toe Pocket Shoes have toe pockets for each of your little piggys, a sort of glove for your feet as it were.  While their looks describe discomfort, they are quite comfortable I’m told.  All those free toes provide unparalleled ground feedback, the need of which is hard to visualize while trouping about on a fusty fish head.    

A sliding kick knocked the offending head off the dock providing some reeking relief and served to contaminate innocent toe pockets causing olfactory hallucinations lasting months.  

The much flaunted barefoot shoes were put into a plastic bag and thrown into the automobile’s back seat for transport.  This solution was as short lived as the odor was foul. Shorty, the malodorous toe gear was wrestled in a sealed container then relegated to the murky depths of a car trunk owned by our resident double Iron Man competitor.

The offending collection of toe pockets is still soaking in chemistry of unknown composition and probably has given birth to some kind of mutant creature that will likely become an elected official or at least smell like one.

And all of my gloating over the 110 degree temperature difference between Fairbanks, Alaska and Gulfport, Florida hung in the air like the fevering aroma of a fetid fish head.