This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is warping_moment.jpg

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, the third entry defines ‘warp’ as to move (something, such as a ship) by hauling on a line attached to a fixed object.

Thanks to Monica and the crew at ‘Lectronic Latitude for publishing the latest installment of The Resourceful Sailor Series, Warping A Boat Around At The Dock, on April 14, 2021. It includes a video for the first time in RSS history!

For the full article and video, follow the link below to ‘Lectronic Latitude:

https://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/2021/04/14/#warping-a-boat-around-at-the-dock

I can’t thank Monica and the crew at ‘Lectronic Latitude enough for their support. They have done it again. On March 12, 2021, they published my latest Resourceful Sailor Series piece, Outboard Thermostats – An Open and Closed Case.

“There is a simple test to determine if a thermostat is opening and closing properly. Place it into boiling water. It should open in the water and close when removed.”

Click the link below for the full article:

https://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/2021/03/12/#outboard-thermostats-open-closed-case

The battery-testing meter on Sampaguita, my Flicka 20, was not working properly. I was particularly missing it while swinging on the hook. In addition to slow cooking stew on the solenoid-regulated stove, there were long, winter nights under the anchor light and short stormy days with limited solar-charging opportunity. Monitoring the batteries health was no longer flick-of-the-switch easy.

Thank you to Monica and the crew at ‘Lectronic Latitude and Latitude 38 for publishing the Resourceful Sailor Series installment, Replacing The Battery Meter on ‘Sampaguita, on February 15, 2021.

Here’s the link:

https://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/2021/02/15/#replacing-battery-meter-sampaguita

When you buy a used boat, you also buy a previous owner’s modifications. Sometimes these are desirable and sometimes less so. For example, the conversion of Sampaguita’s galley stove from alcohol fuel to propane was a win. But the push-pit mounted LPG tank blocked the visibility of the stern light. Correcting this seemed proper. This Resourceful Sailor Series article explains how I did that.

Thanks AGAIN to Monica and the crew at ‘Lectronic Latitude for publishing Keep The Stern Light in Sight on February 5th, 2021. Also, for their continued support in these trying times.

Click the link below for the article:

https://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/2021/02/05/#keep-the-stern-light-in-sight

A special thank you to 48 North Magazine for publishing my piece, Exploring Local: Kilisut Harbor, in their February 2021 issue. Kilisut Harbor was my go-to destination for 2020 for reasons I’ll let the essay explain.

You can get a subscription to 48 North Magazine or pick up a free copy at your local chandlery or marina.

There’s also a cool article about a new Maritime High School, and it looks like Sarah Scott bought a new boat too.

Sampaguita’s portlights had sprung a few leaks around the panes. It was very slight in only a couple but was worsening and spreading. The outer gaskets were deteriorating too, so it was time to roll up my sleeves.

I did just that, and the project was the subject of my most recent Resourceful Sailor Series article, Old Bronze Portlights: Sealing the Pane. A special thanks to Monica and the crew at Latitude 38‘s online version, ‘Lectronic Latitude, for publishing it on January 18th, 2021. 

Click the link below for the article.

https://www.latitude38.com/lectronic/2021/01/18/#old-bronze-portlights-sealing-the-pane

As I moved to an anchoring mindset with my 1985 Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, Sampaguita, I was going to need a dinghy. The main questions? What would it be, and where would I store it? At 20 feet, the storage space above and below is limited. After considering my options and values, I created a list of criteria I would need from a dinghy to suit my situation and narrow the focus.

A dinghy would need:

1) to stow below decks.

2) to carry two people and gear. 

3) to double as a life raft.

4) to be durable and reliable.

5) to not detract from my sailing style.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2551.jpeg

The first criterion determined my dinghy would be an inflatable, and most likely, a kayak. Obstacles and clutter on Sampaguita’s deck would not be seamanlike. Therefore, it should be light and compact enough to wrangle down below, which would also mitigate UV exposure. 

The second and third criterion defined that it needed to be conventional in function. SUP’s need not apply.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2592.jpeg

The fourth demanded robustness. A quality made item I could beach, use in adverse weather with confidence, and would not easily succumb to the abuse I was likely to give.

The last was more about my cruising style. I have hank-on headsails and prefer sailing over motoring to a fault, reinforcing the first criteria of no deck storage. If I chose to tow it, drag would be an unwelcome factor. Minimal electricity availability and use meant inflation would be manual. So would motive power. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_1902.jpeg

With my options narrowed, I began to focus on inflatable kayaks. A friend invited me to test paddle his. We went through the process of inflation, launching, paddling, deflation, rinsing, and storage, and he gave a helpful review of the plusses and minuses. In the end, I decided on an Aire Lynx II, inflatable, sit-on-top, white-water kayak with a simple, light-weight, and floating hand pump.

Has it fit my criteria?

1) I store the kayak down below in a large rubber tote. It catches any residual water after use and deflation. I then put a freight crate upside down on top of that, allowing ventilation for drying, and doubles as a table. Since I store this just aft of the v-berth, it centers the 40 pounds of weight low and directly over the keel. I keep the accessories in a separate bin.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2434.jpeg

2) It is a two-person kayak for when I have crew, though more often I use it solo. I am then able to carry lots of gear. An unforeseen advantage is that solo, the kayak sits high in the water, keeping me dry, even with self-bailing scuppers.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2302.jpeg

3) As a life raft, the kayak is questionable. I can inflate it on deck in about fifteen minutes, but this is awkward and impractical in an emergency. If already in tow, it could be a go-to. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3084-1.jpeg

4) The kayak is PVC with three bladders on the inside. As a white-water kayak designed to take the punishment of river rapids, I can beach it without worries. It paddles easier than a standard inflatable dinghy will row. Windage is manageable to a point, though chop makes for a pounding and wet work out. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2232-2.jpeg

5) The simplicity of manual inflation and motive power suit my style and economics. When towed, it creates little drag as it skims across the water, its width aiding its stability. If below, it serves as ballast and furniture. Either way, the deck is kept clear.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_3003-1.jpeg

The challenge of having a dinghy on a small keelboat is a common dilemma. While the criteria were specific to my style and Sampaguita’s size, the process may aid other small boat owners in their decisions. There will be compromises, as always with boats. I believe the freedom to explore beautiful, remote, and quiet anchorages is worth the mental and physical exercise. Bon Voyage. 

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is img_2448.jpg

‘Lectronic Latitude, the online counterpart to Latitude 38, published the lastest Resourceful Sailor Series installment, Don’t Chafe On Me, on December 14, 2020. This article demonstrates some easy and economical solutions that I came up with for preventing chafe on Sampaguita‘s anchor rode, bow sprit and platform, and standing rigging.

The intent of this Series is to demonstrate “outside the box” and affordable solutions to keep boaters on the water. I am not a shipwright or a tradesman. The goal is less about supplying a solution, and more about encouraging creative problem solving. Thanks for reading.

And thank you to Monica and The Crew for their support.

CLICK HERE for a link to the article.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is lectronic-title-bg.png

Sampaguita, a Pacific Seacraft Flicka 20, and I went out for a sail one late November day in Port Townsend Bay, WA. I took this video with a head-mounted GoPro HERO 7 and have created clips centered around a few activities. There is no mood-inducing music added, just the sounds of sailing. Splashing water, roaring wind, flapping sails, winches and lines, my breathing, and the occasional talking to myself. And most of the bird-like sounds are actual birds. (If you must, think John Cage’s 4’33”)

These clips are not how-to lessons or the epitome of anything. They are “live” recordings, warts and all. No do-overs, no what-ifs. What struck me most when I reviewed these clips was how natural these maneuvers had become for me on this boat. It’s not that I am a spectacular or talented sailor. No, I am just well-practiced on Sampaguita. As I wrap up my eighth year with her, I have done these actions countless times, and my comfort with them seems evident, at least to me. It certainly helps that the boat is well-behaved, predictable, and easy to balance with the sails. This propensity to handle herself affords me the ability to handle lines and sails single-handed in a fairly low-stress, low-tech manner.

The knotwork is also second nature. Much of it occurs just off-camera. Figure eights on one end of the sheets, bowlines on the other. A reef knot here, a cleat hitch there. Wrap, lean, and pull.

It’s not all roses. The restricted deck space and rigging clearance require specific footwork, an inboard lean, and one hand for the mast. I have grown accustomed to this too. (The irony that Sampaguita has her lines led aft to the cockpit, but no roller furling headsail isn’t lost. Maybe I’ll make that change one day. Or not.)

Even when things don’t quite go right, like in Reef the Main (1’09”), the clew isn’t tight enough. It was an easy correction as if I had been through it before, many times. Or in Changing the Headsail (1’09”), the halyard doesn’t run clean. As soon as I felt resistance when pulling the sail down, I knew what was wrong and how to fix it. It wasn’t the first time.

The unexpected takeaway from these clips for me is the tremendous value in a boat I know. I will remember this the next time I wonder whether Sampaguita is the right boat to go voyaging in.

Reef the Main

Change the Headsail

Shake out the Reef

Dictionary.com defines bricolage [bree-kuh-lahzh] as “a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things.” With financial means and healthy supply chains, this definition can have a broad interpretation. But when these break down or are nonexistent, creativity and ingenuity must prevail. Whether sailors or landlubbers, many people are ‘bricolagists,’ and they often have similar materials at hand.

A special thank you to Monica and the crew at ‘Lectronic Latitude, the online counterpart to Latitude 38, for publishing Tales from the Northwest Passage: Arctic ‘Bricolage’, Part 2 on October 21, 2020.

Click Here for a link to the article.