Single Handed made so easy

Wow, moving all the lines to the cockpit made sailing so easy!

Heading out, I let Capt. Ron put us into the wind, then using the stack pack zipper pull I open the pack and grab the main line and pull the mainsail up.

If needed I lock the reefing line clutch at on one my reef points and crank till I am set.

I can feed out as much of the jib as I want and lock it down. A quick turn to grab the wind and I am off!

Coming back it’s even easier, as I get close to last turn to the dock, just wind up the jib, pop the main clutch and sails are down and ready to be neatened in the pack and zipping the pack closed ready for the next sail.

Winch in

Wow, that was a hunk of work.

1st I found a nice #30 two speed winch in the used section at Bacon Sails, it was sticky and I got it for $75. It took a couple of hours and 3 cans of Brakclean but I cleaned it up and got it smooth as silk.

Now with section of .25″ steel plate, I made a nice backing plate and mounted it on the cabin roof. Yes that required trimming the wood work and making a rather mess of the floor with saw dust.

But all in all it is in, might be overkill but job is  done.

Now I need to run the reefing lines ( next Job)

Getting lines organized

Being a lazy sailor (also Safe Sailor), I have always worried about going to the mast to raise, reef or lower the main. Well now I fixed that!

Pat and I installed a deck plate at the base of the mast and then added blocks and a deck organizer to bring the lines back to the cockpit with clutches to make them easy to handle.

I still think I will take one of the wenches off the mast (I have 2), and locate it next to the cockpit clutches. But all in all it so nice and easy to manage the main now, I don’t know why it took me so long to do it..

BTW: When working with 5200 sealant wear gloves, it takes days to wear it off your fingers.

The 2021 Season Opens

April 24th – Our 1st sail of the year and what a great day it was! Melissa and Leo drove up from Delaware, Jacob drove down from Baltimore and Laura and I took them all out.

Leo was a great 1st time sailor and with Capt. Ron (our Autopilot), in control Leo took a hand at sailing by push button.

The winds were light and the bay was also, in fact at one point when the boat was rocking it turned out to be Leo dancing back and forth to make it rock.

We finished up the day as it started to get cool and a front started coming in. So we did what any sailor in the Annapolis area does, we went to the Boatyard Grill for an early dinner.

Happy Sailors

Christmas Week 2020

With Covid keeping us locked down, I took a chance and chartered a 52′ Lagoon out of St Thomas for the week after Christmas and invited family to come along.

We were joined by the Lee’s and Lance for an exciting week on the water. Honestly the boat could have been better prepared and lacked some of things I had come to expect from basic sailing but we did ok with what we had.

The sails were really not rigged but she did have two nice motors and we were only bay hopping around St John and we were in 70-80 degree weather with beautiful waters so we made due.

The BVI’s were locked down with a $ 100,000 fine for coming in so we made sure not to wander into their waters (one night trip brought up fears of fines more than rocks!).

New Years Eve brought a floating concert to our Caneel Bay anchorage  while most of the crew was in St John Town, Pat and I just hung out and enjoyed the music.

All in all it was a fun trip and we learned a lot about close quarters with family, so good some not. But that is what life is like, and I am sure the grand kids who went will not forget it.

Winter in the BVI – Jan 2020

January 2020 had Patricia and I down in the BVI’s on someone’s  boat, not as real sailors but rather that as guest for a week. The Arabella, a 157 foot triple mast sail boat.  The trip was an ASA charter and we had a great time.

I have never been on a ship like this one, With it’s full set of sails flying we skimmed past Whites Bay before dropping anchors off Soggy Dollar Bar.

Our trip was great although we came home to join our family in Delaware where my son Jon was attempting to recover from a heart event. Sadly I need to report that my First Mate, Jonathan Freedman, passed in February. Jonathan will be forever missed.


Jumping the electrons

Wow, before this effort we had three unattached networks on the boat:

  1. Raymarine Seatalk – A proprietary RS485 based one for theirs systems
  2. NMEA 183 – A standard network also serial based
  3. The Full Sail Net – An Ethernet/ WIFI system for chart plotter and such 

Now we have tied it all together, it required some new boxes and the use of off the shelf components with new software but now everybody talks to everybody. The AIS radio talks to chart plotter, the Wind gauge talks to the auto pilot, the VHF knows where it is sitting at any given time and reports our location to Coast Guard and everything is reachable via mobile devices (phones, old Ipad etc.).

I am passing data around using a broker (KPLEX) and collecting it from the various components via USB based serial interfaces which can support RS485 and RS422 which is then posted to the broker and is available via TCP connections. Lots of fun. Who said embedded systems can not be made to jump, and proprietary networks can not be hacked and decoded, not me.

Back on the Bay

With Maryland sailing released from lock down it has been a great couple of weeks. Also it was a bit of a rushed trip out.

Laura and I went out the Sat. it opened and I had been doing all sorts of project and the cabin was full of tools and such, but we just went out anyway and had a great time.

This Friday, Patricia came down with me a cleaned up the cabin and organized it and Sunday Laura and I went out for a long sail. down to Bloody Point and then tacking up the bay. We went out at 10:30 and got back at 6pm. Laura sailed us all the way with her finger on the remote while we talked.

The Season just Blew By

Wow, today is December 13th (Friday) and Full Sail is heading up to the hard to spend the winter, napping.

This was a great season, we went out almost every weekend, many time with ASA crew joining us from the GoSailing app. We had wind and sometimes not so much. We sailed up the Annapolis to spend the 4th of July week on a ball and watch the fireworks. We added more toys, got an electric outboard to push the dingy around the make easy runs off the boat.

Must say the sails will need some TLC over the winter but all in all she is holding up well. I am looking at putting a set of davits on the back to hold the Dingy and move the solar panels to a better location, that will be the big winter project.

The plan is to go back in the water the first week of March, till then it will be work and couple of weeks in the BVI to keep my sailing addiction feed.

The Dingy Project

Docks are nice but traveling off them into anchorages or mooring balls requires an easy path to shore (not swimming). So last year on black friday I bought a West Marine PRU-3.

The PRU-3 in a two chamber inflatable that will hold 3 people (900#’s) and will fit in the boat without being tight. It came with a pump to blow it up and a pair of oars. Being the lazy old man I am I went looking for a small outboard and there I learned a lot.

Bottom line I ended up with an electric one (Torqeedo 1103C), which I got from Fawwcett in Annapolis with a small discount. It is light, total weight 38# or 29# without battery, has long run time (6 hrs at 1/2 speed, 20 at slow speed) and is equal to a 3hp gas motor. Not cheap but 2 year warranty and 1st service is at 5 years. No gas, no oil and can charge from either boat’s batteries, solar or dock AC. And waterproof to IP67 standard (it can fall overboard and still work). Even is so smart it will tell you how far you can go (GPS built in). Plus it is a classic case German over engineering!

So all I have to do is put in on dingy (it breaks down to 3 parts to make it light), press the on button and turn the handle and off we go.

BTW: the 12V charger option was $50 but I found the connector in my pile of old wall chargers and a 12V to 24V up-converter on amazon for $13 so I am good for anyplace.

Splash Day

Happy PI Day

Well it’s both PI day and boat day, today Full Sail is scheduled to be splashed (if all goes well). I can’t tell you how excited I am to start the season.

Yes I know it is iffy time, but I have lots of projects to do and being in the water is better than climbing a ladder to get in/out.

1st up is getting sails back on, then rewiring the log sensor, then the internal lights. Once the systems are all checked out and De-winterized it will be time to do a shake down sail. Then it will be sailing season again!!!

VI School

What a trip!

Jan 7 – 12th I took the ASA 103/104/114 courses down in the US Virgin Islands. It was offered by US VI Sailing School and my instructor was Quincy Briscoe and wow what a guy.

The class was great, we did 7 days on a Cat out of St Thomas, and each day one of us was the skipper for the day. We sailed all over the US VI and BVI learning as we went (Class was just 4 of us).

So now I have covered the ASA 101/103/104/114 as well as a lot of navigation (I don’t need no stinking GPS, give me a chart and a compass and I am good to go).

We all took pictures of the class and sites which you can see at take a look and be jealous.

I can’t wait for March to come so I can get back on the water.

Nap time for Full Sail

Dec 1, Nap time for Full Sail

Sadly we pulled the sails and closed up the boat today for the season! Next step is for Holiday Point to winterize her and fine an easy out location for her to sleep on the hard.

I have a few projects for the winter:

1. Install a new knot meter sensor,rerun the AC wires to HVAC (they are a bit short and I don’t like tight wires.
2. Install either an arch or davits on stern for the solar panels and AIS and long range Wifi (Maybe a new Bimini with short hardtop and room for canvas bridge to the dodger).
3. Flush out motor heat exchanger
4. More to come

Highlights of the season:

Connected with lots of people on the GoSailing app, and took quite a few out for day sails.

Went out in bad weather and got lost at mouth of eastern and Chesapeake bay and had to call for tow (thank you Boat USA). Along the way on that trip I got a compression fracture of L-1 while stuck in bow pulpit watching tow lines start to engage (learned from that one! 6 weeks off the boat “sad”).

Got new slip and had to learn how to euro dock (prop wash city).

Got caught in a squall coming out of Annapolis after waiting out another one and was surprised how well Full Sail handled 30 knots wind with main not reefed (long story some time).

All in All a great learning season!

PS: Off to VI Sailing School in Jan to pick up sun, sailing, learning and more certs

On the Hard

Well, if had to come to this! Winter on the bay!!

It is that time of year that most boats on the Chesapeake Bay move to the land, (HARD as they say), and Full Sail has joined them.

We can’t wait for March to come and we can get back in the water, but we are using this time to do some minor work:

New Bilge pump (2)
New Nav Station panel, with built in OpenPlotter-chart plotter, WIFI, AIS receiver, tiring GPS into radio for distress with location calls.
Fresh refinish of Tiller (looks great)
A Mainsail bag with lazyjacks from LeeSails
Maybe a water cooled refrigerated upgrade for the icebox.

Pictures will follow soon.

Pat & Lance on the Bay

Sept 9th, Pat and Lance went “To Sea” it was a great day! Light winds smooth sailing and great time. Of course the Rum and Cokes helped out. One thing that was cool was there were some fighter aircraft practicing around us and it was fun to watch them do fly overs.

We weren’t the fastest boat out there but we held our own., and I am looking forward to having my brave loving wife out again before it gets too cool to be fun.

Great weekend on the Bay!

Wow it could not have been a better weekend, Sat we had great winds in the teens and in the right directions. Jon, Bailey and I went out and within 2 hours were under the bay bridge into the upper bay. The bay was full of sail boats and we saw dock mates running the same track. Only an hour and haft back as Jon keep us right on the edge of the no sail range on a fast close hull run.

Sunday was a big one, the winds were light but my lovely wife and sister in law + husband came out for a sail. My wife Pat has concerns with boats but see went out and that’s a first. At least now she can say she tried it however I think she is a lot less worried that she was before. Stay tuned for updates.
Oh her sister Bernice turns out to really enjoy sailing so we hope to see more of her.

One Cool Boat (AC)

When I overnight-ed on the boat I tried to turn on the AC to no avail.
The problem turned out to be the AC’s water pump which unlike most pumps does not suck, it just circulates water. The lack of the ability to self-prime its self means that the water lines must be filled with water before it can actually work.
So when I was down last I figured out the correct procedure to get it working after being out of the water. And now we have a cool boat when at dock, the weather just needs to get hotter so we will need it.

Hatch way project

Looking at the hatchway boards it is clear they need to be refinished, however there is no way to do it dockside in a day. So I decided to make a Plexiglas cover out of a piece my Dad had given me to make my bachelor dining room table.

A quick trip to Home Depot for a 4×4 section of plywood to use as a pattern and some rough cuts and I went down to slice out the correct section. Then back home to cut it out of plastic and back down to make the fit dead on.

OK, now I have the basic cover, but I want to dress it up a bit with some trim and hasp, I hope to have that done by weekend.