Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Two Outings

Update: I got out twice last week. Neither time had much wind. In fact, the first of the two, I didn’t even raise the mainsail. The second time I did. Winds were light and erratic. I’m hoping to get some good practice going to windward.

I have gotten practice rowing. I did a little more work on my oar handles and they feel much better. I will say it takes me some “umpf” to move the boat. I have very little to compare it to in my experience. My 11’ dinghy weighed about a third of the CIY and probably took a third of the energy to row. After rowing for an hour my forearms and hands were really fatigued though I was rowing dead into a light breeze of maybe 4-5 mph. My oars are 9’, so the amount of leverage I get is reduced over the shorter oars I had previously. 10’ oars, which is what the Shaw and Tenney formula suggests, would really take some pulling. Not sure of my speed. I’ll have to take out my GPS next time.

Looking forward to some wind but we’re headed into summer now. We’ll see.

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Sailing Again!

After two and a half months I got back on the water!

That time was obviously taken to give my back time to heal from the herniated disc. I had read that it takes 4-6 weeks to heal from this injury. I slept in a recliner for five weeks. I gradually began to do harder tasks. In the last several weeks I have done quite a bit, especially yard work and a project on Robin's car, all the while taking care to not stress the back. It has felt good through it all. 

I have been looking for an opportunity to get out for a couple weeks. The wind has been fairly strong many of those days, in the 12-15 mph range. That's a little more than I want right now. I still don't know this boat very well with only two outings in very, very light wind. Tuesday afternoon looked very promising but the winds were around 10 mph and my time slipped away too. So Wednesday it was. I had a doctor's appointment at 8:30 so I hitched up the boat and got some things together the night before and took off to the doc's with boat in tow. 

Nothing stupendous to report from this outing but there were several take-aways.

First of all, there was a lot of "trash" in the boat when I took the tarp off. Here's what I found.

This has me quite concerned. I've had problems with carpenter ants on my other boat and am wondering if ants have gotten into this boat already. Some of it is just debris that has blown in under the tarp. Looks closely and you'll see a stick.

I'm thinking squirrels may be partly responsible too. But then there is this critter:

I'm thinking this culprit is partly to blame - an earwig. The reproduce proliferously and mold a lot. In any case, I'll be keeping a close watch on the situation.

Second of all, there seemed to be water in the bottom of the boat. Ummm? Well, I sopped up the worst of it before I left. I stopped for breakfast and there seemed to be more! What is this? When I got to the ramp more of the same. Something made me open the lazarette. What! The thing was 2/3 full of water!!!! Where did that come from? Has it been there since my last trip? Has rain water somehow gotten in? Quite puzzling. I scooped it out and wiped it out. I looked a couple times while out on the water. About the only place water could be getting in would be through the gudgeon bolt holes. I didn't see anything. I've just about concluded that rain water somehow blew in under the tarp. But still puzzling. 

Third take away, I was eager to see how much easier, if any, the new block at my masthead would make raising the mainsail. I had lashed it to the fairlead. Answer: it was a thousand times easier! During the course of my outing yesterday I raised the mainsail three or four times. It works wonderfully. I lose 2 or 3" of height in my sail but I can live with that. 

Fourth, I practised rowing. The wind never filled in so I really didn't sail at all. But I did row 2-3 miles overall I guess. I got into a pretty good rhythm. With my leather reglued and reattached (it came loose last time out), my oars stayed in place and I was able to concentrate on technique. I do believe I need to work on shaping my grip on one of the oars. One handle is very round. The other is not. I'll work on it some. 

Fifth, I tested a simple setup for oar storage. I kept the oars in the locks and secured the oar with two bungees. Not very elegant, but it works. I'll keep other options open.

So that's my outing. No sailing but profitable nonetheless.

Monday, February 20, 2023


On February 6, two weeks ago, I took the afternoon to take the CIY out again. The weather was very nice though the wind forecast was for very light winds. I figured I could get some practice in on my rowing and work on the rigging some as well. I've got to figure out how to make hoisting that lug sail easier.

When I arriced at the Chickamauga ramp, I discovered that they were working on the pier. I had used the pier for the first launch, but figured I wanted to see if I could launch from the ramp like I used to do with the SD11. 

After rigging the boat, I backed her down. The ramp is wide but with the construction vehicle and another tow vehicle/trailer at the ramp, there wasn't much room for me to back down and slide Dicsiple Ship off to the side. And there was a little east wind blowing so the boat went to the wrong side of the trailer. Had it been summertime, I would have gotten in the water and taken care of it. I sat there with the boat for probably 10 minutes trying to figure out what to do without getting wet or scrapping the boat all up. Finally, a construction worker asked if he could help. I gladly accepted his offer. He held the boat while I parked the trailer. I jumped in the boat and rowed out into the lake a little ways.

I dropped my rudder and went to sit down on the center thwart. I was standing in the cockpit on top of the removable floor and thinking I was closer to the seat than I actually was and without looking back I sat. I missed the seat!!!!! I crashed into the sharp, square edge of the thwart. It caught me about midway up my back. Hurt like crazy! Oh, I thought, this could be bad: I mean broken vertebra bad or something. The pain subsided so I continued with the outing.

I decided to row a bit. My oars are not exactly identical. When I cut the handles, they are a little different. It even seems like my leathers are not the same distance from the ends. How can that be??? I need to check that. Rowing was ok but it is definitely going to be something I've got to work on. 

There was a  little breeze, so I hoisted the lug sail. My mizzen was already though not sheeted in. Again, it was hard to get all the way up. Those last 8-12" are hard. I wasn't able to get it all the way up until after trying 4 or 5 times. 

In any case, the boat will move with little more than a whisper of wind. 

After a total of a couple hours I went back in. Retrieval and packup went smoothly. It appears I'm launching and retrieving in about 30 minutes each. With practice this should get quicker. I'd like to get it down to 15 minutes, 20 tops.

I could feel my back tightening up as I packed up. Everyone knows when you sustain an injury, if you keep the muscles warm you can still function for a while. Once they start cooling off, then you feel it.

I drove home and began backing the boat into her spot. I used the mirrors well into the driveway. As I got closer to her parking space, I turned in my seat to look directly behind me. That's when it happened: my back snapped!!!! Something popped and my back froze up instantly. I could hardly move. 

I managed to get inside and told Robin we had a problem. We wound up at the ER for six hours that evening: nothing broke. I saw my PCP on Thursday and she prescribed a different muscle relaxer and prednisone and ordered a MRI which I had this past Friday. Though we're still waiting on the read-out from the MRI, her diagnosis was a herniated disc. 

It's been two weeks and I'm much improved though far, far from 100%. From what I've read, it will take 4-6 weeks to heal. I'm guessing maybe longer than that. I'm also thinking I'll have to take it easy for quite some time. I'm figuring some exercises to strengthen my core will also benefit. Funny, I just bought a Bow-flex gym in December. Hopefully, I'll be able to put it to good use. Sailing again is going to have to wait a while.

 I got a good shot of Disciple Ship at the ramp before leaving.

Friday, January 27, 2023


As I was prepping for my first launch, I decided to move the boat around and make it easier to get the CIY out. I moved Anago out to the road and moved Disciple Ship away from the side of the house so that I could get here out without moving either of the other two trailers. I want to make it as accessible, easy and quick to taker her out. The easier, the more she'll get wet.

When it was time to put the Hunter back in the yard, I re-hitched her and started backing down the drive and over toward the side of the house. Suddenly I heard/felt something (it's a bit of a blur). I looked behind me and the trailer had come off the hitch! What?!!!

I quickly got out of the SUV and went to see. The first thing I thought was that I may have forgotten to secure the latch on the hitch. No. It was down and in the locked position. Had I not gotten the hitch down onto the ball far enough? I really don't know. That's possible. It's also possible the adjustment on the hitch needs tightening. One thing is for sure - I'll have to check it all out before towing her again. 

The worst thing that happened was the outboard broke in two! Yep, looks like it's ruined.  Someone said that I might be able to get parts. We'll see. In any case, it's going to cost some money, whether in repair, replace or reduced selling price. 

What a sad sight! It turned out it was quite the chore getting the tongue back down. I attached my hitch extender to the hitch, back it under the tongue, backed my neighbors truck down to the boat, looped a heavy rope around the tongue, under the hitch and attached to the truck and then slowly pulled the truck out. The hitch came down readily. 

The motor got caught between the boat and the ground. Motor lost the battle.

Close up after reattaching trailer. Ugh?

I was not using the safety chains. Bad on me, but I thought I'm must in the yard. Also, I did not have enough weight on the trailer tongue. When I last retrieved the boat, I didn't get her far enough up on the trailer. There was just barely any weight on the tongue. I knew this but didn't have to trailer far from the ramp. I knew any bigger trip would require a better arrangement. 

I still don't know why it happened. Further investigation is a must. 


It has been two months since I finished the boat (is it ever really finished?). Timing, holidays, sickness, cold weather, schedules, etc. derailed any attempt to launch the boat until now. 

I have been on the search for a suitable day, one that I hoped would be reasonbly warm, sunny, light wind and one in which my family could participate. My birthday loomed large. Forecast was decent: rain in the morning giving way to mostly cloudy skies with temps in the upper 60's. A Tuesday would exclude Tara and crew but that idea was sinking on my list of suitable days. Did they really care that much anyway? 

So what better day to launch? I set out to make it happen. I prepped as much in advance as I could (more on this story coming in a latter post) including new tires on the trailer and came home early from church. The sun was peeking out and it looked like it might be fairly sunny which was good. 

Here is Disciple Ship ready to go. Pretty - ain't she?

At the ramp getting ready to rig the boat. Rigging went very smoothly. I took my time. I didn't actually time it but take down took 30 minutes. That time will improve with practice. 

I tied a rope to the bow and, after putting her in the water, gave the boat a shove toward the dock. With the lake at winter pool, it was a short distance to the dock. Here I am getting things ready to shove off. That's a 5 gallon bucket I took as a bailer. It's too big! Got to come up with something else. The pitcher I used on Little Bit should do. 

I'm off. I wanted to get a little distance between me and the dock before hoisting the mainsail. What little wind there was seemed to be blowing out but I didn't want to chance winding up on the rocks my first outing. 

Raising the mainsail proved to be a little bit of a challenge. And the lazyjacks halyard got jammed. I'm wondering if the lazyjacks setup is interferring with the main halyard. I'm going to take it off before the next sail and see if it does any better. Below you can see here with full sail deployed! That's one big mainsail! She's luffing a bit here. Not much wind and I'm trying to get her on a tack. When I did get a good puff, that mainsail filled and looked absolutely beautiful. 

A little closer. Oops! Forgot to get in my fenders. Bad form, but I had a lot on my mind. 

After tacking around a bit, I doused the sail and rowed back in. Here I've turned around so I can see the ramp and make a soft landing. 

Successful first launch!

Disciple Ship at rest. Good girl! 

I believe she is going to be a fun boat. I felt very comfortable out there. I won't be quite so nervous the next time out. Can hardly wait!

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Football Anniversary

Note: This is copied from my Facebook post dated Friday, November 25.

A 50th anniversary is a pretty big deal. As time would have it, I'm at an age where some of those 50th's of memorable events are happening. 50 years ago tonight I was playing football for the John F. Kennedy Kougars (sp. is correct) of Richmond, VA at the City Stadium of Richmond. We were playing the Thomas Dale Knights of Chesterfield County for the Central Regional title. Thomas Dale was 10-0 and heavily favored. We were 7-1 and unlikely participants in the contest. As a "cinderella" team, we had finished the regular season as co-district champions. 

The decision as to who would represent our district in the regional title game was quite a circus. Virginia officials went back and forth and it even went to court. The final decision was not made until Thanksgiving morning. "Thankfully" John F. Kennedy HS was chosen to represent the district. The game was played the next night. My only claim to fame was a mention by one of our star players, Linwood Lancaster, about the defensive ends doing their job. That was me. 

Here are a few pics to commemorate the Kougar victory. Included are some clippings about the uncertainty, the game itself, the program (I'm listed at 162 lbs but only weighed 140 soaking wet), a photo of the team, and several photos of the ring that we earned (we actually went door-to-door soliciting donations to pay for them; they're gold but only cost $25). 

Unfortunately, we lost the state semi-final game to the Annandale Atoms of northern VA (they were the arch rivals of the T.C. Williams Titans of "Remember the Titans" fame - the movie based on the true story that took place just one year prior to our season).
That season holds a very special place in my memory bank and became a cherished part of my youth.
Oh, and BTW: Something else happened at JFK that became more than a memory - I met Robin there!!

Monday, November 28, 2022

Ready Yet?

Thanksgiving came and went and the boat didn't get wet. I thought I was going to be able to launch on Saturday but schedules and an emergency surgery of a church member squeezed it out. Fact is, I probably wasn't quite ready anyway.

Today I spent three hours with some "final" prep. I ran the lazy jacks through the eye hook, sorted out some lines and put up the mast again. It all looked good and I liked the way it all came down. We'll see if the process is repeatable without getting lines all tangled. While the mainsail was up, I vacuumed out the boat. Amazing how many leaves got into the boat with a tarp over it. I guess they blew in through the slightly open ends. 

It's been a week since I posted and I was busy with little details. Here is a pictoral walkthrough.

I hoisted both sails! Looks pretty good!

The rigging of the sprit boom on the mizzen.

I rigged the mizzen sheet through the boomkin. I think I'm going to replace that clam cleat with a cam cleat. I may replace the clam cleat on the mast with a horn cleat. You can also see a safety line tied off to an eyebolt just aft of the mizzen mast. This goes to a cleat on the mast which will prevent the mast from coming out of the partner.

I rigged the downhaul. I used spectra for the lashings on this. The line will be under a big load.

I attached the permanent mooring cleat. I had to put it off center due to some framing on the inside of the flotation chamber. It'll work fine and looks ok.

While I working the day before Thanksgiving, these two birds walked by. We've seen them numerous times before. Guess no one told them what time of the year it was. LOL

I attached the tiller extension. I used a 1/4" line tied with a rolling hitch, put a washer between the tiller and extension and secured it with a velcro strap. Gonna be watching that hitch. I may switch to a thumb cleat and bungee cord.

I tried doubling the 1/4" bungee cord that I had but wasnt' satisfied. I'm going to used a regular line. I may get some 5/16" bungee and do it as called for in the plans.

I had attached a cleat for the mainsail downhaul. I wound up moving it over an inch because it was too close to the mast to easily cleat off the line.

Here's my rope handle for the daggerboard. It should float so may not be very necessary, but it's there.

I ran my two bridles for the mainsheet. After putting a loop in the forward bridle, I rethought it and took it out leaving just a straight be of rope. 

Clint suggested holsters for the oar locks. I screwed two of them on the aft bulkhead just underneath the side benches.