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  #11  
Old 09-22-2008
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smackdaddy is a jewel in the rough smackdaddy is a jewel in the rough smackdaddy is a jewel in the rough
PBZeer

Yet another Sailnet paragon that's out living the life - or is it outliving the life? Anyway - great sailing spirit from back in the day to now.

Back in the day:

11/13/2002
Gulf Coast in a H26
Having only sailed on lakes to this point, how plausible is it to sail the Gulf Coast, Nov-April, in a H26? Would like to do that while looking for a liveaboard boat when I retire (Sept 06). Seems like it would be a good way to get a feel for what I want in a bigger boat. Would be starting out from Mobile, after coming down from the Tennessee River system.

Forgot to mention, I''ll be singlehanding.

Back in 2007:

I crossed from Texas to Florida in the Spring of 2007. Partly on the ICW, partly open water. My only prep, instruction-wise, was to daysail on Galveston Bay. I've had no formal instruction.

Off we go!

And now:
All over Sailnet. Like you need a link?
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  #12  
Old 09-22-2008
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Knothead

And this story is about as big as it gets from one of the nicest, most knowledgeable sailors on this site. It's long, but it's great:

Here ya go smacky, I'll start a little tale about a real sailor.

I spent a few years growing up with Harold.
He was my brother, four years older than I. (apologies to Paul S.)
One of the memories that really stand out was when I was about 10 or 11. We were anchored in Richardson Bay off Sausalito. We lived aboard the Oscar Tybring. A Colin Archer built double ended ketch. She was built in 1898 or there about and was credited with saving over 100 vessels and 300 + lives. All without an engine and in some pretty rough waters, (Norway).
Everyone had gone to shore that day. I had taken them in the dory. Which I had learned to scull rather well by that time.
I can't remember just what was bothering Harold that day, but he was in a foul mood. That I remember. It may have been around the time that Dad had signed a guy on to help him take the boat up the coast. Harold was so pissed. He would sit for hours whetting his knife. A fillet knife that he carried in a sheath on his waist. The guy asked him once how sharp he was going to get it and Harold replied, "sharp enough to cut your head off". He really felt insulted that Dad had brought this guy aboard and let everyone know about it.
Anyway, sometime after I had returned to the boat, I must have said something really annoying, something that only a kid brother would say I'm sure. Anyway, he snatched me up quicker than I could run, (and believe me, I could run), held his knife to my throat and after a short lecture as to how a little brother and cabin boy should behave, gave me a little slice below my right eye and tossed my butt overboard.
I don't remember how long he made me swim around but eventually he let me back on board.

Sometime around that time, (I really can't remember if it was before or after), during one of my Dad's trips up or down, (can't remember which) the CA coast, I remember being below in my little berth in the foward cabin. We called it the foc'sle. It was blowing like hell. We were rounding Point Conception. There was only the three of us aboard but I wasn't allowed on deck that night.
The Oscar was groaning and creaking like something alive. The wind was shrieking and I was scared sh!tless. All of a sudden, an explosion. Or it seemed that way to me. The Jib blew out. I don't know if it was a storm Jib or not but it sounded like a cannon. I could barely hear my Dad yelling from the helm and the pounding of my brother's bare feet on the deck as he ran forward to bring in the tattered remnants of the headsail. He was no older than fourteen at the time and wearing canvas pants that he had made by hand from a drawing on a book.
My brother was a sailor.

My Dad was a pretty good sailor too. Lousy Dad, and not a really great husband either. Or so I heard. But at least he had the decency to never marry after my Mom died.
Anyway, after he was forced to sell the Oscar he loaded me and my brother in an old station wagon and drove across the country to New Orleans. He almost killed Harold on the way due to an exhaust leak. Had to drag him out of the car and lay him on the road for about a half hour before he came to.
He found a rotten old Dutch canal boat sitting and sinking at the dock and bought her. The three of us spent a few months cleaning and patching her up at the dock. He never did haul her but I remember him reefing and caulking seams above the waterline. His plan was to sail to FL and do a complete rebuild. If I remember correctly, he was going to use the boat as a mold to build a ferro cement boat. The fad was just beginning to take hold around then. Anyway, bottom line is, we didn't get far.
February14, Valentine's Day, 1968. We got as far as Lake Pontchartrain. A storm blew up and the boat started leaking faster than we could pump. Dad made the decision to run her up on a beach. Which he did. The boat was barely floating by that time. He told us that we could grab one thing each. Dad grabbed the ships compass. A huge thing. Harold grabbed his boom box. I grabbed my puppy. A three month old Shepard pup.
Only one of these things survived the trek across the marshes, the compass, but at least the three of us did. Barely.
Dad knew that there was a fishing camp out there somewhere, according to the chart. He didn't count on the fact that it was off season. Fortunately, (and truly I mean Providentially), there was a caretaker on the property and he and his family saved our lives. No ****.

I am going to relate the following with a caveat, I am going to get spiritual here. Take it for what it's worth and do with it what you will.

We, Dad, Harold and I had walked through waist deep marsh, across numerous bayous, (we were all wearing PFDs), for hours. We tried valiently to hold onto our treasures, but after a few hours about all that was left was the compass. My puppy didn't make it far.
We reached another bayou. The sun was setting, It was getting dark and it was raining and cold. Dad was laying on his back exausted. He was in his mid fifties I think. Always smoked. Harold had a side ache. Stiches some call it. He was just laying on the bank. I remember bawling my head off and being more scared than I had, (have), ever been in my life.
I remember as clearly as if it were yesterday, looking across this next watery barrier and falling to my knees and praying. I have no recollection of the substance of my prayer but when I opened my eyes. I saw a light. Not too far away either. One more bayou and a short distance across another marsh. I didn't say anything. I just went. I remember Dad yelling at me but no one stopped me.
Sometime later, It was pretty dark by then, I got to the fishing camp. There were a lot of little cabins but only one of them had a light on.
A single bulb burning on the porch.
I pounded on the door and when it was opened I found that I couldn't speak. I was making lots of noise but no words. The woman took me into the cabin, removed my life jacket and put me into a hot shower. A few minutes later the man gave me what I later found out was a hot toddy. I have a fondness for them to this day.
When I could speak, I told the man that my brother and father were out there. All I could do was point. He didn't hesitate.
The next morning, looking out over the distance we had trekked the day before, there was only water. No land anywhere.

After this little adventure, Harold hit the road. He was 16 at the time. Dad left me with some folks he got to know while we were in Louisiana while he went on down to Ft. Lauderdale and got a job at a boat yard. He got back on his feet and sent for me a couple of months later.
I didn't see my brother for a few years after that.

The tale goes on and doesn't really have a happy ending but I don't get the feeling you are into happy tales as much as tales of adventure. And my brother Harold was man of adventure.
A man to be emulated? I'm not sure about that. But a man who embraced life certainly.
He and I eventually became friends. Sadly, I didn't have much of a chance to know him that way, but such is life.
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  #13  
Old 09-22-2008
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The floor is now open...time to BFS.
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  #14  
Old 09-22-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CharlieCobra View Post
I don't go that far. Too easy to break shyte when that happens. I'm still wondering how that ragged old ash and bronze block held up when we got pinned with the chute up that time.
You would have to inspect the block and see if there is any distortion or not.
If not distorted the block is fine. But if the schackle or any other part is distorted then replace that block.

In fact you should carry spare blocks on board for ready replacements as required by the weather.
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  #15  
Old 09-22-2008
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Speaking of getting in slightly over your head. I took some friends from work on their very first sail one fine, sunny Saturday. It was blowing 15-20 when we eased Oh Joy out of the slip and motored into Burrows Bay. I had full Genny and Main up and the winds increased to 20-25 by the time we passed Allen island headed South. The plan was to sail down to Deception and duck into Bowman Bay to drop the hook for lunch. By the time we got abreast of Deception Pass, it was blowing 25-30 and time to reef since we'd been running with the rail in the water to the winch. Needless to say, running offwind wasn't an option as we were next to a Lee shore without enough room. So, with a rook at the helm for his first time, I furled the Genny and went forward to rig the Solent Stay for the Staysail. Mind you there's no lifelines forward of the sprit's butt and no Pulpit on Oh Joy so hanging out on the pointy end as it makes 15' sweeps while shipping green water ain't exactly fun. I got it done and hanked on the Staysail, not wanting to shred the new Genny like I did the old one. Reefing was problematic since the rook had trouble keeping us head to wind and the boom took me off the housetop once but again, I got it done.

We had a great sail back and the other rookie finally got control of her stomach so we went out across the Rosario to Cypress. The wind moderated back down so I pulled the Staysail, Solent Stay, reef and went back to full canvas. On the return, I hoisted the chute and did a "Titanic" on the sprit while my rookie helmsman enjoyed driving the chute back at 7.5 or so. It turned out to be a nice sail that set the hook for both of them as far as sailing goes. The rook did so well that I let him punch through the tidal chop coming back into Burrows.

I do need to pick up some tethers though. There's been more than a few times when they should've been worn.
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Old 09-22-2008
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Boasun View Post
You would have to inspect the block and see if there is any distortion or not.
If not distorted the block is fine. But if the schackle or any other part is distorted then replace that block.

In fact you should carry spare blocks on board for ready replacements as required by the weather.
I checked it out the last time I went up the mast, no issue. I have a half dozen of these old blocks aboard. Matter of fact, we broke one on the Leeward sheet during the above sail and replaced it while underway, without losing ground.
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  #17  
Old 09-22-2008
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Charlie - if you actually said the words "I'm king of the world!" you should just be slapped. Otherwise - tethers would be good.

Hey - after reading Skip A's story - it sure made me re-read your F11 tale with a new perspective. Holy crap. I suppose you had the good fortune of getting off the water before the waves built like his.

I can't remember now - were you at the helm the whole time? Or did you have to auto-pilot and hunker down as well?
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No, no AP on Oh Joy but then again, I wasn't stuck in it for three-four days either. Also, my adventure was in more sheltered waters, BIG difference.

No "King of the world" crap from me. I was standing on the bowsprit, hanging on to the furler and just enjoying the sea as it slid under the bow. Magical time, if just too short.

Last edited by CharlieCobra; 09-22-2008 at 03:03 PM.
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Old 09-22-2008
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I'm going to chime in here.. because I've got a pretty good one.. We'll call this story 'lesson learned' ..

I sail in the Ottawa River, Lac Deschenes waterway, skipped a Tanzer 22.. A very overbuilt and sturdy 22 ft keelboat ..

A friend wanted to go out, he had one day he could ..So we decided to do a 2-3 hour cruise up to Aylmer island (about 4 miles to windward from the club) and back .. maybe anchor for lunch . Didn't check the weather, as a) I was a newbie, and b) it was sunny, warm and dead calm (that's good right? *sigh*)

.. anyways, it takes us about 2 hours to tack maybe 2-3 NM towards the island in the exciting 1 kt wind we are experiencing.. I am busy apologizing to Nick for his first time on the boat being 'so dull' ..

As soon as the words leave my mouth, I notice foul weather to the S/W .. of course, I didn't know the weather patterns at the time, and figured 'maybe it will miss us.. if the other boats turn back, so shall we..'

*crackle boom!*

the other boats turn back.. We debate what we'll do for the next 20 minutes, at which point the flottilla is mostly back, and we are way too far out.. .. At this point my 'mildly intelligent sailor' gene kicks in, and I realize we are too far out to make it back before it hits, and the wind is picking up.. we leave the genoa up (duuuuh) and reef the main, and decide to try and sail it .. so we head as close to the windward shore as possible ..

Anyways, first comes the rain, then comes the hail, then comes the 50kt headwind, THEN comes the WALL of black water.. at this point the boat is pinned on her beam, helm is hard over, and all I can do is hope the canvas doesn't tear and the storm runs out of wind before we run out of lake.. which it does..

Ok, not so bad.. it lasted all of 5 minutes, but there is another one coming and I can see it..

"We're not going to make it back, let's do it right this time"

We drop and tie down the sails (duuuuuuh) and get the prop in the water.. all whopping 6 HP of it.. Sure enough, the storm hits again, with even more ferocity this time, and longer.. we ride it out, motoring to windward for a good 20 minutes, holding formation with three other boats whos running lights I can see.. It's like steering on a tightrope, but I'm keeping her pointed with my trusty Johnston 6HP gunned..

However, I'm getting hypothermic (maybe I should have invested in something stronger than a 1 dollar walmart poncho? I am a newbie .. that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it) .. so I tell nick he has to take the helm, and jump inside to warm up.. hes doing OK, when all of a sudden our 'strapped down 130% genny breaks free of it's tie, and runs right up the forestay... we go over, pinned to the water again.. this looks familiar, and quickly lose sight of the other boats .. Nick, under my direction does a good job of keeping us beam-to.. it's too dangerous to get up as and bring in the genny we're at a 50 degree heel, and I know it will be over soon.. sure enough, it us.. ..

A few minutes later as we are collecting our wits, and the contents of the cabin police fire and rescue (who had been flanking our small fleet the whole time) come and ask us if we'd seen a boat in trouble .."No, I never noticed anyone" ..

They were responding to an SOS issued by another boat, for someone they thought was going down or in trouble.. it later dawned on me that that was probably us, when our flotilla saw our genny break loose.. .. oh well..

anyways.. after that conversation.. *crackle* *boom* in the west.. I make a judgement call, and decide we can outrun it.. Full canvas up, it's blowing 20-30 and we close haul home in about 15 minutes flat.. probably one of the fastest sails I've made on her ever.. .. dock, derig, and run to the cars sopping wet just as #3 hits, with even more ferocity than the first two..

The boat came through without a scratch or a tear, Nick still can't meet someone knew without telling that story whilst sporting an ear to ear grin..

Me? When the weather turns nasty I know which way it comes from, don my shiny new storm gear, put the canvas *in* the boat.. drop the hook or motor (dependant on position and situtuation) and laugh in the face of danger..

seasoned, no.. but no heeling, broach or shift really phases me anymore after that.. For me it was the day I 'got my legs', and fell in love with my boat.. After that day she's a she, not an it. and 30+ is a day I 'really should go sailing, as opposed to a day when I should cancel my sailing plans
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Old 09-22-2008
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There ya go Casey, the attitude is right and the story is one that's probably been lived by many a trailer sailor. Nothing wrong with being heeled at 50*, if that's what ya wanna do at the time. Being pinned on your beam's end for a length of time takes a little adjusting to though.
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