Monthly: November 2008

27 Nov


A Sailor’s Thoughts on Thanksgiving Day


Many of us will gather today to feast with friends and family. Like many holidays, Thanksgiving weaves many threads together. Food and football, history, commercialism, tradition, and religion sit at the same table and dig in. But at it’s heart, this day is about reflection and gratitude.

But many are the sailors who gather with the lovable lubbers in their lives, people who make us smile in many ways. Still, they do not know what we know, what gives us peace and makes us smile. Fine people they may be, but they go fast, go in big boats, or stay ashore.

We, of course, are grateful for many of the things which they appreciate. But there is another dimension, another set of experiences which set us apart. We are grateful for other things as well.

The beauty of a bow, a sheer, or transom.

Brightwork and bronze.

The light before sunrise in a quiet anchorage, and the first sight of the sun itself. Those are moments to savor with that first coffee and solitude.

Surprises found at docks and boatyards that bring a smile- a different boat, a handsome Dorade, the perfect portlight. Neatly furled sails, and rigging squared away.

The pleasant surprise of seeing a distant sail.

Wind, sun, and water. Phosphoresence. Dolphins, rays, birds, and the other creatures who live where we are fortunate to visit.

And the sailors! The lovers of boats, the fixers, builders,thinkers, doers of deeds big and small, the tinkerers and competitors. The salts, young and old, in different shades of colorful, that make you laugh and smile, or hold your piece. They are the coin of our realm.

We’ve much to be thankful for. —Steve Haines

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26 Nov

1 Comment

More Dream Boats


Contributor Charlie Whipple sent this note:

My obscure favorite is Happy, an 18-ft cruiser by C. A. Nedwidek. The blurb for the plans says:

Many desirable features are compressed within the eighteen feet of this able little craft
With an over-all length of only eighteen feet, this little combination outboard auxiliary cruiser has ample accommodations for two to cruise. Two transom berths, water closet, and room for an ice chest and stove. Used with an outboard engine she will furnish a great deal of pleasure for week-end cruising. She is not fast but is comfortable. Of the straight V bottom type, she should be easy to construct even for one who has not had very much boat building experience, but who knows how to handle woodworking tools. No moulds should be required. The frames themselves can be gotten out and used in the place of moulds. This saves the necessity of laying down the lines full size on the floor. The shape of stern should be laid out full-size, this will help to get out the actual stern and also to line up the rabbet line on it. The interior woodwork is simple, two transom seats, to be used as berths, two lockers in forward, end, platform to take ice chest and stove. Also platform to take water closet.

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25 Nov


Dream Boat



What is it about certain boats? I picked up a book published in 1960 called Sailing Small Cruisers at a thrift store, and every time I flip the pages I stop at this design. It’s a 17′ 3″ Alan Buchanan design he calls a Ray Class design. Just about perfect to my eye. 

Feel free to mention or send photos of your obscure favorites.

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22 Nov


Zen and the Sound of One Line Docking


By Carl Haddick

Once upon a while back a few Novembers ago, I found myself in CorpusChristi, catboat in tow. I hadn’t had any advance notice vacation time was coming and I was a bit lost, not in a navigational sense, but in terms of where to launch and get out on the water. By chance Trailer Sailor Bulletin Board regulars JimB and Joan recognized my boat on the highway and flagged me down. We’d never met but thanks to TSBB we weren’t strangers, either. With their kind help I was soon settled in the city marina.

The slip was open to a ripping good wind and my first lee dock approach was a near disaster. JimB saved the day, and in parting dropped a comment about using one long dock line, one end tied off at the bow and the other end made fast to a stern cleat. A little embarrassed by my boat handling, I’m afraid the idea didn’t immediately sink in.

In my sleep that night I probably docked a hundred times, each episode ending in heartbreak and gelcoat scratches. Towards morning Jim’s comment reared up and I realized one long dockline was what I needed.It might sound unconventional, but it worked for me. Like a dream,you might say.

After rigging that one long line I walked my boat out of the slip. As the boat backed out a tug on the stern line turned the boat, pulling her up to the end of the dock and laying 90 degrees to the slip itself. I hopped aboard, spooled up the kicker, and was off without any fuss. Cool deal – standing on the dock and moving the boat with a line both to bow and stern was like flying a stunt kite!

Returning, Chapman’s be darned, I didn’t attempt to directly enter the slip. Instead I coasted up to the end of the finger dock, 90degrees to how the slip itself lay. A bad approach wouldn’t have been a big deal, just throttle back up and keep on cruisin’ down the fairway. On a good approach I stepped out on the finger pier with my one long dock line in hand, my boat still technically in the fairwayand drifting at maybe a half knot.

Big boats sometimes do a spring turn into a slip by snagging a piling with a line running somewhere amidships. I did sort of the same thing from my vantage on the dock, pulling back on the bow line.

It didn’t take much pull to stop the bow dead in the water, her remaining momentum swinging the stern out and around. As the boat pivoted and came aligned with the slip I just walked her in. A twenty knot wind on the stern, pushing into a lee slip? No big deal,singlehanding, and no scratches on the boat, thanks to JimB’s suggestion and a past voice for social sailing.

As it turns out, TSBB old-timers call that one long line a ‘doc’ line,named after Doc Hansen, founder of the TSBB. Doc passed away before I had the chance to meet him but I understand it was his vision that gave rise to events like BEER and the BOOTS campouts I so crave.

And the sound of one line docking? Not sure I can answer that one,but it’s nothing like the crunch of fiberglass against pilings!

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