Impossibly perfect

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Perfect bike, perfect ass, what more could you ask for.  I was chatting about my current life with some boaters when I was reminded of my youth and how at my age it’s one thing to bonk around but my new friends had responsibilities  at thier age.


I asked how old they thought I was and she said 25, I laughed as her jaw dropped, we were the same age.  When asked my secret to my youth I simply replied, “good wine and organic ciggis” the truth isn’t that simple but if you want that perfect 2%’body fat, muscular physique and ripping strong cardio you had when you were in your teens, find a bike you love and ride it like you stole it.

My vacation from the web has been a nice break while the digital mechanics were sorted out but I missed writing.  Not much to talk about but I have a feeling that’s all going to,change right about now..
“The Little Boy and the Old Man

Said the little boy, “Sometimes I drop my spoon.”

Said the old man, “I do that too.”

The little boy whispered, “I wet my pants.”

I do that too,” laughed the little old man.

Said the little boy, “I often cry.”

The old man nodded, “So do I.”

But worst of all,” said the boy, “it seems

Grown-ups don’t pay attention to me.”

And he felt the warmth of a wrinkled old hand.

I know what you mean,” said the little old man.” 

― Shel Silverstein

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Do do do…

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Move along kids, nothing to see here.   From this point on I’m not counting the hours, days, weeks or months.  I’m counting the seconds because in a mere matter of them summer will be over.  On a brighter note it’s topping 80 degrees here today and I’m actually hiding from the sun in the cool of the cabin having just laid a coat of paint on my rudder cheecks.  I’m a miserable painter but it will do the job of protecting my wood.

  
   
These are all projects that should have been done in the boatyard had I had the time and supplies, which I didn’t. My options are stacking and I have a serious case of wishy washy I don know what to to.  I’ve applied to a boatyard to hang Sookie for a hundred days to finally after 5 years dry her perfectly smooth bottom out, scrape 30 years of bottom paint and lay her new barrier coat, this is the most logical and least amount of fun.

I could sail her to Bellingham and have it blasted off in a few hours for a grand.  That money, if I had it which I don’t would go a long way towards finishing her bottom including new bronze pintles and gudgeons, new teak rudder cheeks, all new sea cocks, a new bow strap and yes barrier coat and paint.  The reason I’ve never done this as of yet is its a filthy, expensive, miserable job.  I’ve estimated about 6k which means it will cost 10k. 

When dealing with having your boat, in the yard for projects like this I have a very acurate formula. Figure out exactly how much time and money it will take, then double that figure both time and money, now add 50%.  They call it yachting for a reason. 

Another fun option is just to say screw ever taking the boat south in which case none of these projects need doing and continue to happily sail my local waters which are abosolutly un-discoverable in the scope of ones lifetime.  With my new heater I will be able to sail near year round. I will never understand people who keep thier boats in the NE, to me it seems like a sailboat prison. 

Last but not least I can just play the days away and figure out how to ship Sookie to a more hospitable climate once the long lazy days of summer come crashing to and end.  Yes all first world problems, but I live in the first world so to me each and every one of these options holds many pros and Unfortunatly many cons.

I should be doing something productive but I think a long bike ride is in order.  All work and no play…

“You can have it all. Just not all at once.” 

― Oprah Winfrey

Live and direct this is a mic check

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I woke to a bright and sunny windless day, it’s gonna be a scorcher and a perfect day for a little dock sailing and life assessment. Let’s see, hangover, check.  Good hot coffee, check.  Art of Hookie up and running double check.  Thanks to the always wonderful and generous Just Julie AOH will be live and running on a bottomless pit in a few days, that’s right we just grew up and now AOH is a real website.

  
Laying in bed after the multi day shinanigans  I realized I don’t have a single friend in this entire world.  I don’t  call people, or go out to bars, or meet in the park for potlucks.  What I do have is an ever growing tribe connected by the sea, we don’t call eachother or really even write unless we are sending out notice of tribal journey with invitations to all.  Insert Miss Julie, I can only describe her as special cargo, I met her one milasecond before Sea Trout and have loved her ever since.  Always the generous one, she feeds me, pours mean cocktails and even opened up her temporary landlocked home to me and Chloe when we were in crisis getting to the vet.  

The list of precious cargo grows every day, starting with our very own clementine princess Julie, Laura, April, Chelsea, Nina, Nikki… The admission to the tribe is free and the membership is lifetime.  All night and day apart from one another I doubt a single one of us agree on anything be it boat size, shape, or design or … It’s our mutual love for the sea and the freedom we all have fought so hard to live our individual lifestyles the way we choose without being under the constant thumb of mediocrity.

All ships have sailed today and it’s already too quiet and a bit lonely but when Solace  snuck out early this morning her crew left me with the greatest gift in the world.  I now own Art of Hookie and can continue to spew by nonsensical, liveaboard and occasional sailing nonsense to no end.  If you need a kick ass  Wordpress Pro she selectively takes on new clients between her constant sea adventures.  

From the log of Sookie, who needs friends when you have a tribe, a water tribe… Lopez island 2016

On the water off the grid 

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Coming into a unknown guest dock to charge my batteries was sheer anarchy. The current was ripping, a brisk breeze had the chop in a tantrum and there were boats everywhere going this way and that.  I was in the middle of the runway and had no reverse, in fact I had to shut the engine off every time I put it into neutral or it would wind up till it blew. We had 28′ of side tie dock space for my little 22′ cutter but she is 31 LOA.

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It doesn’t matter how far you have sailed or how long you have been out, the second you tie up you are no longer using your  sailors brain.  Tied to the dock we become liveaboards, even if it’s only one day.  Our lines secured, electricity pumping, an endless supply of water.  Conservation is soon thrown out the window, who cares how much trash we make, we can dump it all right here.  Long hot showers, a meal out, the money flows like the free water we are prepetually filling our tanks with.  A trip to the marine chandlery, i.e. Land pirates and we start to realize how expensive society is, but it’s not just the money, it’s the way we mentally change.

Sitting dockside chatting with sailors about dock fear is interesting.  One of them fresh off. 30,000 mile journey, another finding refuge from an extremely rough passage and another getting ready for a potential circumnavigation. When your out there you become hardened fast, you can’t always hide from the weather, you just deal with it.  Sitting snug as bug in a rug in the marina we start to lose confidence in our boats regardless of where they have safely taken us.  Is my rudder strong, do I need to replace my rigging, what about my motor.  When and where will I be able to top off my cruising funds again.  If you don’t have this anxiety you don’t know all the facts.  Setting off voyaging is like preparing to sail to the moon, it’s just you out there.  I see them every day, potential blue water sailors making thier boats rescueable rather than safe.  Can’t afford new rigging but i just got a new AIS and single sideband. Sure my ground tackle needs improvement but I need a new life raft and solar for the boat. Sails would be nice but I’m too busy putting in a new stereo system.  These are the same sailors that come bareling into the Marina full bore not realizing they need fenders and dock lines till they are fifty feet out.

For all the wonderful solo passages I’ve had sailing solo just plain sucks.  Life is to be shared, good and bad.  Having someone to help with sails, navigation, pulling anchor or just keep,you company on those long nights good or bad weather.  When I’m alone in a blow it’s the loneliest place on the entire planet, when I have crew to keep safe it gives me a prime directive, I don’t have time to be afraid, instead I’m in awe inspecting the fruits of my countless hours of labor making my craft a safe and stout ship.  The ones who say just go aren’t fools, they are just the ones who haven’t and won’t ever just go, they have no idea what it takes to outfit even the most basic boat.

I was recently reading a clip of a story of a guy who just went, I won’t recount it here because it’s none of my business but he lost his boat and everything with it, too many Chiefs in his life and not enough Indians.  As the captian of your vessel it’s you and your crew that will decide when your ready, be-it for your first time crossing to Catalina or setting off to the sail the world.  Sitting in my quarter berth going over charts of the Carribean, I know I’m ready as is my boat but all, the small things are still holding me captive.  My prime directive is finding a wind vane but it’s no more or less important than all the small things like new anchor line, or a nav system I can read with my blind eyes. The clock is ticking and if I miss my window it means a yet another cold winter waiting in vain.

90 percent of seamanship happens 20 feet from the dock. -Jay Fitzgerald

Dear shit bucket 

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Dear shit bucket; how I love thee, let me count the ways.  Of all the items I carry aboard Sookie, my shit bucket is by far the most used and loved item aboard this minimalist little blue water sailing ship.

     
Like our own squishy backsides all buckets are not created equally.  I prefer the one gallon plastic bucket. It fits me perfectly and I’ve yet to have a single complaint from the dozens of guests who have shared my throne over the years.  At first the thought might seem a bit odd but I can assure you that there is nothing in this planet more disgusting than storing 30 gallons of shit under your bed.  

Bucket and chuck it is clean, sanitary and best of all keeps the inside of the boat smelling sweet and fresh.  I still have yet to sail on a boat with a well used composting toilet that doesn’t smell like you are sailing through a shit farm. The active vent pulls the stench 24 / 7 / 365 right into the cockpit.  Most boaters get used to the poopy smell in their boat but I have yet to be on any boat on a hot summers day where you can’t smell the stench.   

Haiku

Shit bucket my friend

You fit me like a glove, love

Soul bucket chuck it.

There is a simple solution for everything in this world but that’s the problem with society.  Everyone is always trying to make everything so complex to completly remove themselves from the act of actually living.  Ive been living this battle as my search for a larger boat continues.  I’ve crossed the Crealock 34 off my list and am now focusing on the Crealock 31.  I’ve been cleared by My local Marina that it will fit into a 30′ slip.  When I find mine the very first thing I will do is remove the head and holding tank.

What have I to prove, and to whom, and why? I’m keen enough to want nothing more than to live a simple, humble, unfettered life.” 

― Donna Lynn Hope

Those Alaskan girls

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Standing in line at the ferry I started chatting about folding bikes with a young girl, before we even boarded I knew that she was one of my tribe.  We found a comfy seat on the ferry and like two old friends started blabbing about, bikes, sailboats, the inside passage and then it came out, you need to go to Alaska, those Alaskan girls.

  
I laughed and told her about April, Alaskan  born and raised  When she needed a new bowsprite on her Flicka she didn’t ask a man to help her, she just built it and it’s better than anything the factory put out.  Her caravan isn’t quite finished but it’s flawless And will make a good home while she finishes her medical degree.  I just got a letter from her, she is in Baja doing her thing, I should be there but I’ve been playing too long and it’s caught up with me.

Back on the the ferry I met another  young girl, a sailor just back from delivering a boat in Baja, her smile was infectious, her eyes bright and twinkling, she has found her zen in this world.  A mother and a grandmother,  when she saw a picture of Sookie it was immediately on, we’re going to sail together and yet another hand will bless Sookies tiller.  Alaska might have to wait another year but there are pleanty of adventures right here in my own backyard and my tribe is growing at a rapid pace. 

In Friday Harbor I found a quart of varnish, Captians by Pettit is pretty much the only varnish I’ve ever used and I love it.  Wherever I go Sookie is my calling card and she has introduced  me to many a fine sailor with her deep Amber teak, dark oiled bulworks and bare, salt scrubbed eyebrow and hand rails, she carries just the right amount of stainless steel and bronze and soon will be sporting new titanium chainplates.  

I have an open door policy with April, like a butterfly she flitters in and out as she pleases. I’m hoping she will spread her wings again soon and land in my cockpit as I need help with some interior wood work and she has a mean set of tools, and the skills you will only find in those Alaskan girls.

“I enjoy working for my heat. I don’t just press a button or twist a thermostat dial. I use the big crosscut saw and the axe, and while I’m getting my heat supply I’m working up an appetite that makes simple food just as appealing as anything a French chef could create.” 

― Richard Proenneke, One Man’s Wilderness

Sailing budgets

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Tied to the floating guest dock we felt like we had the entire world to our selfs, my crew danced and twirled in the warm glow of the evening sun, I took pictures of her, the boat and my entire world.  There were no plans, no destination in mind, just two wanderers for the wind slowly adding little X marks to all the places on our charts that looked worthy of exploring.

  
Talking about sailing budgets is fun but in reality there is no such thing.  Budgets are like diets, they work till they don’t which is more often than not.  Right now I’m living more extravagantly than I have all year, my average expenses are about 11 bucks a day.  The only bills I have are insurance, $50.00 a month which I just paid for 6 months so I’m broke again and $150.00 a month for slip rent.  I spend about 25 bucks a week for food and maybe 20 every other week or less on cheap boxed wine. 

Last summer cruising on $100 a week we felt rich and the only time we went without fresh food  was when my galley slave was too cheap and rightly so to pay $7.00 for a head for cabbage.  We didn’t go to bars or eat out with the exception of the times when very generous and wonderful people would throw a donation our way for a hot burger and fries and an icy cold beer which was pure heaven.  Sounds dirt cheap but I’m not telling the whole story, we spent at least a grand stuffing the whole boat before we left for our 75 day journey.  Deep in my heart I was secretly going to take the boat all the way to Alaska so every single inch of the boat was stuffed with snacks, beans, onions, potatoes, tortillas which last for months without refrigeration and a ton of cheese which we accidentally illegally smuggled into Canada. 

We had no cell phones or internet which is why we didn’t blog much about the trip but I’ve got a dozen articles covering the whole trip it I ever decide to publish them. We left with 4 gallons of fuel but got so freaked out by all the motor boaters on sailboats telling us we couldn’t  sail that we bought two cans and added 5 more gallons of fuel. I gave it all away when we returned as we used exactly 4 gallons for the entire trip.

We had a solar shower that was a dream come true for nakey showers in the cockpit and used our candles to save battery power.  We set sail with 24 gallons of water and carried 34 on the longer stretches but never used more that 13 between water sources.  Nothing broke so we didn’t spend any money on the boat although the boneheaded captian forgot to add a preventer so we had to jury rig one whenever the wind was more than 25 knots from astern.  

We met rich people on small boats and poor people on large boats and everything I between including a rad young couple we know from the  islands on thier awesome Flicka headed to Alaska.  

My plan for this year was a 90 day passage up and eventually around Vancouver island but lack of crew has it looking like my summer will be spent in the islands working and saving to ship Sookie to the east coast for a winter in warm blue water.  Flexibility is the name of the game, our lives were dictated by the wind and tide and nothing else. 

It’s all about lifestyle, we wanted an adventure and were willing to put up with the cold wet spring to beat the masses, we would have loved to have had more money for treats in town but honestly didn’t spend much time in any towns.  Our half sunk dinghy worked fine and I loved rowing even when it was half a mile. My tan calloused hands, strong back and ripped stomach was a great benefit of the dinky and my lack of a windlass. Pulling 55lbs in a hundred feet of water damn near gave me a coronary but it’s all part of the game.  

Because we were so minimal on everything going to shore near civilization was always an adventure, a few gallons of water, dump the trash, a few ounces of fuel. We always kept the boat topped off not knowing when or where we might find an opportunity to restock.  Our cruising average of about 500 miles was 3.3 knots but that’s because we usually refused to use the engine even when we could get it to run. Most of our passages were fast and comfy. The wet rough ones were exillerating and a great chance to learn the finer aspects of trimming and shaping our sails in those conditions. There was only one occasion where I wished that I could have reduced sail further when running with just our staysail we were becoming a bit over powered.  I’m rethinking my new storm jib and think a reef or two in the staysail is a better and simpler  option.  The new geniker will also take us further and faster again both purchased second hand and in great condition.  

The only  item I really missed was a steering unit, having just lost out on my wind vane it’s back to the drawing board. Please don’t suggest sheet to tiller unless you have personally and successfully used it for more than 5000 miles :). 

I look at other cruising budgets against my own  but it’s hard to compare as I spend most of my time in marinas while I’m building the boat but I’m pretty sure that I could voyage full time on 12k a year not only living like a king but also being able to save enough money over the years to replace worn items and  add a few small thoughtful upgrades should we decide to.  The whole point of the Patreon account I opened was so that hopefully some day soon a can reach that dollar amount without having to sell my soul the the sailing rags and continue to write this blog which is a full time job in itself. I’ve taken a heap of shit for this move but after 11 years of giving it away for free I think I’ve earned the opportunity for a bit of love from people who have enjoyed the journey.  

“We didn’t actually overspend our budget. The allocation simply fell short of our expenditure.” 

― Keith Davis

Yachting on $15.00 per day

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Take a look at my small boat and meager budget and yachting might not be the first word that comes to mind but I can assure it is no less than extravagant.  Small boats are cozy, cooking from scratch, a skill I’m still learning is romantic and having the freedom to roam is what makes this gypsy lifestyle so appealing to me.   

Sookie is all cleaned up and ready for her next adventure that will start at the stroke of noon, nothing crazy just good music, lots of home made snacks and what ever debotchery we can get ourself so into.  The charm of small boat life is a simple one but not for everybody.  I like to keep the boat clean and tidy but after a long wet and wild passage her interior usually looks like a bomb went off inside.  Wet foulies strewn across the floor, harnesses and warmies hanging from every hook on the boat, hot soup steaming on the hobb.  It’s all very cozy and reassuring that our safe little home, while smaller than the rest got us there in complete comfort and just as fast as virtually any other boat in the harbor, sans the ones which motored there.

We almost always get the best spot in the anchorage due  to our small size and since there is nothing fancy in the boat, nothing ever fails us.  The most complex system on Sookie is her galley sink and it’s about as sophisticated as a garden hose.  Showers are as simple as a refreshing dive overboard and a quick rinse from my wonderful sun shower naked in the cockpit. The plastic bucket has never once failed me and I don’t know what it is that gives me such great joy when I’m plotting on my paper charts and folding them to fit the days voyage.  They represent ancient adventures driven purely by the wind, they feel good in my hands, they smell like a pirates ship and hold all the mysteries that lay ahead. Sookie has two chart tables that will hold a full chart folded in half.  I have a secret stash of chocolate in each starion rewarding the navigator for going below and checking our course. 

Warm and fuzzy blankets keep each berth cozy as do the lee cloths for nap time and the soft glow of her brass lantern tells us were living far differently than we used to.  Small is beautiful, affordable and within the reach of any  person who works at least 20 hours a week on minimum wage.  There are those who will always think I’m crazy for living the way I do and honestly, I think they are just as crazy for living the way they do.  I’m not destitute by any means, I’m living this way by choice.  I can tell time and navigate by the stars, if I’m feeling a bit cramped I have the whole world one step away and time to fully immerse myself in all the wonders these tiny islands have to offer.  I have much more that I wish I could share about this simple life but right now I need to run up for a quick dip in the spa and a shower before the shenanigans begin. 

I may not possess the burden of wealth but I have all the riches my youth can afford, from the log of Sookie, Oracas  Island April 2016

Three little birds

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Rise up this morning, smiled with the rising sun.  Three little birds, pirched on my companion way step.  Singing sweet songs, of melodies pure and true.  Singing, this is my message to you-u-u. Trying to explain my life to a stranger is like trying to sail dead into the wind, it’s impossible. 

  
It’s easily been ten years now since I walked out the door of my rediculesly  over paid cubicle and took my first full breath of freedom.  It may sound easy but it’s not and it comes with many challenges that keep constantly walking tip toe on that tight rope of life. The past month has been one of the most challanging.  The bank dried up, much seasonal work to be done on Sookie and my constant dizziness had the better part of the month slip away to no productive end.

An all day island tour to sell a few bits of flotsam and jetsam and I made a cool 25 bucks that slipped through my fingers like water.  Getting off the ferry at near dark there were only five cars and s six mile walk if I didn’t get picked up.  With each passing car I mentally prepared for the long journey afoot.  The second to the last car pulled over and Bangarang!

Now I have this  theory that there is no point in living if you aren’t an awesome human being.  I will give you my last taco, the shoes off my feet and every penny I possess if you are in true need and a good person.  This directly extends to hitchhiking. If somebody is awesome enough to pull over and pick up a complete stranger, use thier  gas and engine hours to chauffeur you home,  you damn well keep them entertained for the ride.  Within seconds of being picked up we were all laughing our asses off, these guys were super kewl. 10 seconds into the ride an ice cold Amber ale was placed in my hand and it was the best ride ever.  I was shocked and very greatful when being dropped off the driver insisted on giving me a twenty dollar bill to buy me a nice dinner and a beer.  It might as well have been a million dollars and I have to say it was the best damn burger I have ever had in my life.

This one gesture of kindness set my whole world in motion. The very next day two very good friends who I have not seen in far too long came rolling in in thier Lyle Hess Falmouth Cutter 26, surely the greatest boat ever designed, next to Sookie of corse.   They came bearing gifts and I had a few for them as well.  A beautiful bottle of wine named Chloe and a loaner uke has the walls of Sookie singing and dancing, two of my favorite things in the world.  

My whole point in all this is that if you truly love your life and your existence your sure find a few valleys between the peaks but the universe will always give you what you deserve. I don’t know what day today is but another miricle has happened and I have a fistful of C notes and exactly enough money to pay my insurance and yes, joy of joys, another month of slip rent with a wee bit left of for a fresh cabbage.

Follow your dreams and my silly pied piper writing and I promise you this.  I will continue to serenade you from the very humble life that I live as a budget cruiser.  I will sing to you as often as I can, singing, Don’t worry, about a thing.  Cause every little thing, gonna be alright.  Rise up this morning, smiled to the rising sun…

“Music expresses that which cannot be put into words and that which cannot remain silent” 

― Victor Hugo

On seamanship part two

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We had a really good night sleep but come dawn we were both wrecked from 12 hours in the relentless sun.  Straight out of the gate we had a single reef in our main and our Yankee and were screaming along. At this pace we were going to have to heave to for serveral hours waiting for the tide before we could sail into Fish bay and surprise all of our friends.  I recalculated our speed butit was pointless because we wouldn’t make to fish bay anytime soon.


I take full responsibility  for what came next, being back in our home waters my brain was shot off, I know every inch of this area like the back of my hand, every lift and every eddy.  Silently we slipped across an imaginary line the forms a watery boundary between the USA and Canada and as we did the wind went with the ghost leaving us in a lumpy sea.  It was too rough to use our crippled motor and we were sitting ducks in the ships channel of Harro strait.  Eventually we got the boat moving on what was soon to become the glassiest windless day I have ever encountered.  Once the motor goes on I lose all interest in deck side activity, it’s no longer about the journey, it’s about the destination. I showed my crew the corse to the south end of Waldron  island and explained the river of current that would meet us there and whisk us to the customs office in Friday Harbor

Before we set out serveral months earier I had written a post about engineless sailing and my miserable outboard. There was quite a bit of back and forth and high opinions from readers.  By their language I knew for a fact not one of the commenters had ever sailed engineless, I have and it’s more challanging then I have the ability to describe. A fistful of hundreds later we took our little outboard back from the marine mechanic and strapped her to the back of the boat.  Within one hour of use she started to to south and so the almost engineless journey began and true to form we would do what not a single one of the commenters could, would, or did.  We did happen to meet many engineless sailors on our journey. All of them far better sailors than I.

From the shady cabin our conversation was getting a bit serious, I wanted to fix the engine and my crew didn’t.  I will stop right here and say if your crew doesn’t love your life or the care and feeding of the ship you sail together as much as they love their own life, kick them the fuck off I’m immediately  because they surely will take every opportunity they can to sink your home and your life.  Again as the captian of my vessel I take full responsibility.

Id had it with our conversation and I looked out the companionway and said.  You know, you have learned everything about sailing and nothing about seamanship.  As the words slipped out I saw land less that 30 yards from our starboard side.  It was supposed to be on our port side.  I launched into the cockpit grabbing the tiller and Im sure a long smooth set of finely chosen dialog followed.  White water was rushing 10 feet over Spiden point, we were caught in the rapids and being pulled fast into what could possibly become our final resting place.

I steered the boat away trying to find the sweet spot on the little outboard without spinning the prop.  It was useless I steered a full 180degrees trying to find any direction that would free us of the current.  The boat, was pointing east the current was running north, south and west.  I looked down the west shore of San Juan and an huge 40′ powerboat was getting pummeled, befor he pulled out and turned tail. I looked north and got so scared I immdialy looked east toward salvation.

It was hard to figure out but we were pointing east and moving south and west.  My mind went into hyper sailors over dive and in the span of exactly one half second I had a 5 minute conversation with my brain.  I’ve been though many Rapids, but nothing like this.  I remembered my friend reminding me that water doesn’t like rocks and  will flow around them, not over them.  I looked at the volume of water flowing over the point and tried to work east while the stern was pushing south.

I looked  over at my crew, grab the video camera were going through.  Within seconds we were doing 10.2 knots with full steerage and a dozen huge yachts slamming towards  us on a collision course.  The Rapids were bad enough but the huge wakes threw us around causing the outboard  to cavitate, in no time we were though and ducked into the shallow enterance at Roache Harbor.  I looked to my left  at a seaplane seemingly hovering in place  10 feet off the wate 100′ to port, it was very surreal, my fun meter was pegged and I just wanted to get though the runway and into the safety of the harbor. We made it in and I’ve literally never seen such anarchy in my life.  Dozens of boats manovering around, caountless dinks with drunk skippers, three sea planes doing rounds waiting for thier turn at the dock, and us with no reverse and almost no foreward propulsion.

Having cleared customs we had just enough time to slip through Mosqiito Pass and into Garrison Bay.  We dropped the hook in a dead calm bay with 8′ of low water and a cracked a beer.  I was shell shocked.  It wasn’t any one experience but literally doesens and doesens that had my myind made up, today was the straw that broke the camels back.

Ten days later in Fish bay my heart was in my throat and breaking as I heard the words come out.  I offered every adventure on the planet earth and told her I would follow her anywhere in the world or do anything for her but under no circumstances would  I ever set sail with her again.  I had lost 100% confidence in my crew.  When people are careless at sea really really bad things happen.  Nearly a year has passed and I’m still shaken by the things I will never write about, the story I will never tell.  Day by day I dip my big toe back in and know that I have nobody to blame but myself, I was the captian, I could have ended it at any point.

From the log of Sookie August 2015. Any fool, can learn 80% of sailing in a week.  The last 20% will take a lifetime, it’s called seamanship.

On seamanship part one

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I had violated my own cardinal rule on the boat, no schedules and for the next three days I would pay dearly for it. A big part of this story is missing, maybe next year I will write about it.  It had been yet another bumpy day in the Straits of Georga. We were the only boat on the water save for the commercial fisherman that came to check in us one by one in thier 100′ ships.  As each one approached a threw them a Shaka and a huge smile my VHF is always off.  Sookie was in her  groove, in her element and I was like a kid on Christmas morning, smiling from ear to ear, taking it all in.  Huge rollers would break under our keel with a whoosh, she shook every one of them, she was actually surfing.


Running under just my 80 square  foot staysail the sheet was so tight  it sounded like it was going to explode.  I half wondered what would go first, the hand rail mounted jib track, the block or the the sheet.  The whole system Moaned in protest with the larger gusts.  These are my favorite days, big wind and seas, the boat in perfect maintenance  and on this day it was 95 degrees, pure heaven.  There are very few places in this world  that I wouldn’t venture to in my little Falmouth, she has to be sailed to be understood.  This boat sails like no other boat I have ever encountered.

Hiding in the lee of protection island we didn’t get much sleep that night, the wind was rising to the point that my crew asked me to close the foreward hatch because the sound of the wind funneling through it was scaring her.  I reluctantly but happily agreed,, it was really hot and for once no mosquitos due to the wind but it was freaking me out too.

Morning came early and we had to make the tide to get though the narrows and back into the gulf islands.  It was far to windy at this point to get out of the anchorage with our failing motor.  I turned on the weather report and couldnt believe my ears, it’s getting even worse throughout the day and come nightfall all hell was going to break loose.  We had a quick meeting and decided to bounce.  I asked my crew to row Chloe to shore for a pottie break be she was understandably scared.  I didn’t want to because I needed to save my strength for raising the anchor if we even could.

Between the gusts I rowed from boat to boat hiding in the lee and eventually made it back to the boat soaking wet and tired, rubber dinghys suck ass.  I tucked two reefs in the main and burritoed it, got the boat ship shape and explained our attack, we only had one chance at this and our motor was going to be completely useless.  By this time we had quite a few spectators wondering if these silly Americans were actually going to try and leave. It was only blowing 42 mph bet felt much stronger in the gusts

My Rocna was half way to China but with our outboard  and a lot of back breaking effort I got it in, one painfull foot at a time and we were off.  As soon as I had the ground tackle secured I got the staysail up and we took off like a bat out of hell. Running down the channel. We had about  a mile of lee shore and there were going to be some pretty big seas once we cleared the point.  I got the main up double reefed and reaching we were over powered but I would steer into the gusts and we had the main driving but severely depowered.  I should note that Sookie has a neutral helm, we don’t have any weather helm when she is sailed properly.  There was a 36′ Grand Banks that was seriously pissing me off.  Sookie rose and dropped off of the waves,  this was some of the finest sailing I had ever done but I was catching up the this guy and he was in my way.

Within seconds of leaving the protection of the island our fun meter was pegged for the second day in a row and then it happened. The Grand Banks went so hard over I could see it’s full keel, it’s port wheel completly out of the water, I screamed over the wind, get the vhf, shes going to capsize I don’t know what miricle happen that day but the boat  slammed hard back over, I’m sure the captain was thrown to the ground and is now in Devorce court loosing his ship. He had no business being out in those conditions.

Once clear of the point we fell off and dropped the main to slow the boat for a perfect passage through the narrows.  Approaching I called out on the vhf security, security sailing vessel Sookie entering narrows with severely disabled engine, please stand down.  We were pushed hard this way and that it the whirl pools.  The rubber cone on the prop had spun and anything over 20% she would spin freely.  Exactly at the narrowest part of the channel we watched in horror as five huge powerboats came blasting in towards us throwing the biggest waves I had ever seen.  We were thrown around like rag dolls the engine would scream to life as the pop spun freely and up went the sails.

Safely transitioned through we went from full blast to dead in the water within the hour.  The next 12 hours would be spent motoring on a dead calm sea in hundred degree temperatures at 2.3 knots so we could  make our schedule this was the most we used the engine on the entire 75 day trip but the best was yet to come… To be continued.

“The cabin of a small yacht is truly a wonderful thing; not only will it shelter you from a tempest, but from the other troubles in life, it is a safe retreat.” – L. Francist Herreshoff

Crealock 34

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Sitting in the Red Room of one of the literally thousands of airports I’ve passed through I looked up and in walked Ed McMahon.  I tried not to stare but I’ve grown up with this guy on a fuzzy box in my house. He walked up to me, stretches out his hand and with a big smile says”hi, I’m Ed McMahon”.  I watch him work his way through the lounge introducing himself to every single person, this guy is a genius.

  
As incredibly minor as my celebrity is, I’ve been doing this for a long time and can’t go anywhere without having someone recognize me and say hi.  I’ve even been pulled over on a small island by a hyper excitable guy that saw qme at the country market but it didn’t click till I started to drive away.  It’s just what happens when you put yourself out there.  I know how to work a crowd and am very good at it but deep down I’m a painfully shy introvert.  I know an incredibly large amount of people but can count my true friends. On one hand.  When I left Hollywood it was to save my anynimity. 

My coffe is especially good today, I’m going on an island extravaganza, to meet with potential buyers of this and that.  When it comes to buying boats I’m a boat sellers dream come true, I don’t fuck around or waste thier time, I negotiate a price peek around for an hour and either buy the boat and dissaper from the sellers life or don’t buy the boat and do the same, I know what I want.  I’m not a boat shopper I’m a boat buyer.

Looking around Sookies interior I love every inch of her.  In the five years I’ve owned her I have never once walked or rowed away without stopping to admire her lines.  Under sail she is magic in a way you will no know unless you have been fortunate enough to hold her tiller in your hands.

I still don’t know why I do the things I do but if I didn’t seek more here and there I’d still be sailing my Montgomery 15, but as I transition through life sometimes I want a bit more, or at least know that some day I will.  I have been eyeing the Crealock 31 for years, it may just be his best design.  In my constant search and research I have fallen in love with a Pacific Seacraft 34 another boat I have always admired but one I could never love as much as Sookie.   As I sit here pecking out these words she is 100% obtainable, nested into a little boatyard in Mexico waiting for me.

I’m deeply torn because as much as I suffer the cold I am in no way shape or form ready to leave the Salish Sea.  I’ve sailed all over the world and no place I have ever seen can compare with the beauty and richness of this vast stretch of water.  Constantly challanged with massive tide cycles, rip currents that are like sailing through river Rapids and weather that changes its mind mo often than I do.  It would literally take a hundred lifetimes to explore this place.  The only problem is short summers  and long cold winters.  I prefer to be able to see my feet when I swim.  

It’s a long sail home from Mexico but as a budget cruiser long voyages save money.  A quick trip to Hawaii and back to the PNW and she would be home, of course there is an easier way south to the Carribean where I already have winter work lined up, then up the east coast and ship her across the country and home.  Or I could just keep her in Manana land till I have my fill of cabbage Tacos and not so cheap beers. 

Sixty seconds aboard Sookie

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My brain is experiencing a creative orgasm but my hands are tied behind my back. The video carnage continues.  How can it be so hard to find a good free video editor for my iPad.  

Back to the drawing board, I’m starimg  all over.  It’s time to purge my digital film studio and start over from scratch. For now it will just be a Mac air 11 and I’m down grading to a Nikon D5500.  Many reasons for the changes, some good and some bad.  My inner creative has finally been reborn and it’s all I can do to shut it down for a few hours here and there to sleep.

My whole world is stretched too thin, this time I really am wiping the slate clean.  I woke up today with a different perspective on my world and living it.  I’ve been sailing into the wind for too long with this and that.  It’s been a long time coming but I’m finally finding a bit of focus, it’s time to make some sailing videos, find a crew and cut the lines for the season. 

Still a bit shell shocked  from past experiences that I’m as of yet not ready to talk about but it’s time to get the monkey off my back do a little bit of down wind sailing. When I was married I had a deal with my wonderful wife that if for any reason either of us was unhappy we would make a 180 degree shift. I still have that deal with myself and I’ve just reversed the polar caps..

“When I was on The View, Barbara Walters was asking me about the blood and stuff, and I said, ‘Well, you know, that’s a staple of Japanese cinema.’ And then she came back, ‘But this is America.’ And I go, ‘I don’t make movies for America. I make movies for planet Earth.'” Quentin Tarantino

Poverty sucks

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Sure, I’ve got whiskey, scotch, bourbon, gin, vodka, all top shelf, lemon and lime liquors for home made margaritas.  I’ve got good wine and great and Shitty beer but all I wanted was a glass of wine out of a box, it’s my staple and I’m out, poverty sucks.

  
I feel like a total ass but I broke my own cardinal rule and busted out a kick ass bottle of wine with nobody to share it with. Gouda cheese, green olives and farm fresh salami. Yes, that’s right I’m having a pity party and your not invited.  It seems to happen about this time every month, I accidentally look at the calander and oh shit, bills are due.

Since I can’t do anything about it today I corked a world class bottle of wine, made snacks for dinner and here I sit  suffering miserably alone and in poverty. I light a few candles, put on some good music and smile.  I’ve worked my entire life to make it from the top to the bottom, it’s been a struggle and I do have to say, it fits me like a glove.  I look around the cabin in the soft flickering light and realize I’ve made it, nirvana.  I’m not poor, I’m broke, there is a difference. 

“We are not rich by what we possess but by what we can do without.” 

― Immanuel Kant

 

RTFM

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My brain is fried, Im going to effing snap. I just lost a weeks worth of edited video footage.  It’s been years since I pulled down about a hundred sailing videos from YouTube and I’m finally ready to get back on the band wagon again but the entire world of video has seemingly changed while I was sleeping.


I’m looking for advice and tricks to come up with a rock solid dirt cheap video set up. I’m beginning to realize that I am a completle retard when it comes to shooting video on an old DSLR.  I’ve been editing on my iPad but that will be moved over to the nav department soon enough and possibly upgraded but at this point I’m not sure if the iPad air 2 is any better than the iPad Air one when it comes to navigation.

It’s these little things that have me frustrated to no end and literally about ready to start pulling my hair out. I’m about ready to sell everything and start all over but it’s hard to imagine life without a DSLR. In the old days I shot everything on my canon G series and was reasonably happy with the results. Battery power is another issue and the main reason I haven’t used micro 3/4 much. I shoot a lot and every time I use one the battery seems to burn out in about an hour, my Nikon goes for ever. Ahh, first world problems. I can’t or don’t know how to use what I have, don’t have what I need and don’t want what I can’t use but have, or maybe I just need to read the fucking manual…

It’s 5:00pm somewhere, Im pulling out a Cohiba and a glass of whiskey and licking my wounds, tomorrow is a new day

There’s nothing creative about living within your means.

– Francis Ford Coppola

You can’t learn anything from a book

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I was at the boat show talking to one of my biggest sailing couple heroes when one of them actually quoted me to me, verbatim.   I don’t think they knew they did but that’s how our brains work, we read or hear something and all of the sudden it’s melded into our brain as our own experience.

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You can’t actually learn anything from a book  you can get a huge amount of insight but until you’ve  actually engaged in the activity you have no idea what it’s really like. I’ve sat left seat in a jet, taxied, taken off, climbed out approached and touched down.  Put me in that jet by myself and I’m a goner, the pilot carried me through the entire process.

The docks are busy this weekend.  Boaters crashing into each-other, the docks and anything else they can possibly hit. I watched a guy come in with his family it was almost as if he had never been on a boat in his life.  Later in the evening chatting with him I could tell by his language that every single word that came out of his mouth was from the Internet or reading a book. He was a parrot, parroting things he had heard but clearly didn’t understand.

You can read the best book on anchoring or sail trim or self help…  Until you put it thought the process you have no idea what to do when say you are anchored and can’t figure out why  you are broadside to a rising fresh breeze  sail trim books are great in theory but all boats are different and need to be sailed differently.  Until your in the boat reaching in 15 knots of wind and not topping four knots you won’t have the opportunity to figure out why you are going so slow.  I can read a book about how a guy only works a few hours a weeks and gets rich but the only thing I’m learning from the book is how he did, not how I can.

i recieved an extremely long letter from a reader of this blog.  It goes on to say how long they have read the blog and love my lifestyle and want to do the same thing.  I write most days because that’s what I do, I write, some people jog, or go to the gym or meditate for relaxation, I write.

The problem with reading blogs or watching fun videos is that your literally getting a day, week or month long snapshot is 5 minutes.  That leaves just shy of 24 blank hours in every day, a very empty void.  What I’m getting at is you can’t love my lifestyle because you have no idea what it is.  You get a snap shot and a few rambling sentences that usually are weeks old and wouldnt make a whole lot of sense even if they were happening in real time.

i never know how to answer these letters because who the hell am I to give advice.  I could sit down today and write  a hundred sellable books back to back but what’s the point.  You don’t want to live  my lifestyle , you are already living the lifestyle you want, it’s your choice afterall.

The reason I’m writing all this gibberish is to both apologize and also to say thank you.  I read every comment and email I receive but I can’t possibly answer them all.  I do however appreciate them very much and they give me a great amount of joy in reading them.

if you want to know what your dreams are take a good look around your life,  you are already living them.  You’ve worked your entire life to achieve what you have so sit back and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Sure we all have fantasies, mine is sailing away with Jessica Alba   The most dangerous thing any of us can ever do is blur the line between fantasy and reality.  I get a constant and steady amount  of hate mail from this blog, it’s from people who think I am living thier fantasy and they want it so badly  that they actually take the time to sit down and write long letters of how much they hate me.  The whole point of a Fantasy is that it’s harmless and not real.  If you blur that line and try and make it real it just may cost you everything.

As far as my crazy exciting life goes, I’m laying around sipping on a really good cup of coffee.  I’m a little bit bored and a little bit lonely, but not too much. there  are things I should be doing but it’s Sunday so I most likely won’t, what I’m saying is that my life is very much like yours with the exception that you didn’t shit in a bucket today.

The one thing we all have in the world that no man nor woman can take from us is the power of choice.  The power of descision is far more powerful than any magic. choose wisely.

“Don’t forget – no one else sees the world the way you do, so no one else can tell the stories that you have to tell.”
― Charles de Lint

 

Minimalist mindset

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April looks up at me with piercing eyes, her long dark dreadlocks glinting, backlit by the morning sun.  I don’t want to leave, but we both know she has to, I want to lock her in the boat… I walk her to her bike and just like that she’s disappears down a quiet country road.  Back at the boat a few empty bottle and a slight hangover, I do a bit of clean up, Sookie smells like April, part of her is still with me. 

  
 
Complete polar opposites, April is a Doozer and I am a Fraggle Her drive exhausts me, my only job is to slow her down between her constant achieved conquests.  Today is my five year anniversary with Sookie, the warmth of the sun stolen by the morning breeze.  She makes for a good home, has always kept me safe and carries my world around the world in teeny tiny hops. 

Today I will explore the high places on the island, find a nice lake and take a nap inland where I can find refuge from the wind, a nice sunny spot is calling my name.  I don’t have much shit but what little I do possess pleases me to no end. I have no time for modern day distractions such as TV and Facebook, maintaining and playing with Sookie is a full time job, it’s why I adopted her, I like the process of her, she is my art. My little Brompton is the same, she is no less than design excellence.  After every ride, I clean her chain, give her the once over, wipe her down and store her where she is alway in plain sight.  

Like April and myself, minimalism and simplicity are polar opposites. Owning a bike rather than a car is minimalist. Using said bike as a station wagon, grocery getter, boat supply mover and people hauler is anything but simple.  Sookie is minimalist but there is no such thing as simplicity when it comes to living aboard and outfitting a small boat, it’s the exact opposite. I use Brompty as a study in genius to achieving perfection in a small package.  While there is no correlation between becoming minimalist and simple living they go hand in hand, feed each other and off eachother.  It’s an almost impossibility to find one without the other. There are a hundred ways to have eggs, my favorite way is with good company. 

“You sell off the kingdom piece by piece and trade it for a horse that will take you anywhere.” 

― Colin Wright, My Exile Lifestyle

Double entendre 

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I love April and I mean that both literally and figuratively. I cant imagine any better way to welcome in April than, we’ll with April. A spur of the moment trip up to visit Sookie and to try and figure out a way for me to make the 12K mile road trip.    

  
I was raised in Baja and love it in ways I can’t describe.  Just my daypack, Brompty, great company and the open road, Nikon in hand. If it happens it will be a dream come true. Back on the Sookie front she brought me a Chinese coffee maker, this thing is amazing, small simple and you can make anything from drip to espresso with the twist of this ingenious little nob inside.  No more filters and it’s small and light enough to go anywhere I go.  I’ve spent the last year of my life looking for something like this but a little bit of patience and here it is.  Sookies galley just got a whole lot better.

Sassage, cheese and crackers. Great coffee for me and tea for her.  A few roasted yams and purple potatoes with friend eggs on top and this is truly turning out to be the best damn day of my life.  April is a nurse practitioner in training, but also an eastern medicine healer and she is working on my body old school style, all I can say is thank god she forgot her needles but I have a feeling I will be a pin cushion for six weeks if I do make the road trip which is the only thing on my radar right now.

Life works in mysterious ways.  A simple email from India and a week later this curious new creature enters my life.  I’m sure I drive her crazy to no end with my insanity but I am what I am. I’ll never understand how I get so damn lucky in this life but I am truly surrounded by the most amazing humans on this planet.  Imagine that, a world with nothing but great friends…

Don’t walk behind me; I may not lead. Don’t walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend. — Albert Camus

Simple

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I pulled into Nazareth, was feeling ’bout half past dead I just need some place where I can lay my head

Small and simple, my boat like my sandles suits my needs. A place to lay down at the end of a long day, Sookie is my refuge.  I’ve been passing out early these days from exhaustion, too much living if that’s possible.  You can’t fight the genetic urges of spring, earth, wind, fire, water, I have it all.  Nature is the ultimate form of simplicity. 

  
 I’m too lazy to cook breakfast but I know I need to eat, another long day is beginning. It will reach 70 today. Not a drop of wind, more sail work and a real bath for both Sookie and myself. Simple chores, laundry, a trip to find a cabbage, trim my toe nails, go for a really long walk.  Everybody is always trying to give me rides or loan me thier cars, I prefer to walk. I don’t understand why walking is so offensive in our modern culture, walking is simple and fun and on my island very social. 

A friend of mine emailed asking for help to lose 10 lbs of winter fat, I told her to sell her car and buy a bike, she drives one mile to work and has not once walked or ridden her bike.  She decided to join a gym instead because it only takes her a few minutes to drive there. I ponder convenience vs simplicity. The kettle is steaming which means it’s almost time to get working. None of my tools plug in, I’m forced to go slow and become part of the project. My knives are all dull, I will sharpen them with a Stone and oil, the same oil I cook with, the same oil I use as skin lotion, simplicity. 

For fun I decided to see how far I could stretch a 25 ounce bottle of organic dish liquid. I used it to wash my body, my hair, my dog, my boat and my bike, it lasted 12 months, simplicity. 

My lightweight mountian kilt, bare feet and lots of sun. I swim in it and it dries on my body, no laundry to do, simplicity.

I spent a full hour watching the dew dry from my decks, I’m an odd duck.  I keep blowing off potential relationships and dates and… Ther are times in this world when I feel like I’m the last simple human on earth and will frustratingly remain single until I find my eve walking naked down a lonely stretch of beach with nothing but a giant avocado and a sharp knife. The single life is the ultimate form of simplicity.

Hey, mister, can you tell me, where a man might find a bed?

He just grinned and shook my hand, “No” was all he said. -The Band

Deal with it

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Yep that’s right, the time has come. I haven’t actually launched it yet because I’m a sailor and a lazy man at that but I’m launching a Patreon page. Sure I could just ask for money and I’d probably get it but I’m one upping myself.

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I’m not a singer or a musician by a long shot so my Patreon will ask for donations for songs posted written and performed by me.  I shutter at what will come of this but the time has come to fulfil my childhood dream of being a rock star. That’s right I just said it, Patreon, deal with it.

“Because’, she said, ‘your problems are not real problems. You’re dating two beautiful girls at once. Think about it. That’s like…having rock-star problems.’

‘Having rock-star problems may be the closest I ever get to being an actual rock star.” 

― Cassandra Clare

Dock sailing

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Today is and was without a doubt the best damn day of the year and it’s only getting better from here on out. Today was a day to figure out how to rig my new asymmetrical spinnaker.  I’m doing a few other rigging changes as well but now I’m covered from one knot of wind to, well I don’t even want to think about the other end of the spectrum but my new 38 square  foot storm jib is ready to go and I hope I’ll never need it.


Barefoot and narry  a drop of wind, I love this new sail and it will for sure raise my cruising average speed.  I can think of a hundred things I love about small boats but sails are damn near at the top of my list. I not saying Sookie is fast but there is no greater hell on earth that owning a slow boat while every other boat in the  world sails past you.  My westerly cirrus sport was slow as dirt, and it made me crazy. I had seven great sails including a drifter, spinnaker and asym but in less than 18 knots, she was a slug, wouldn’t point well and for a fin keel was just not up to my standards.

  
It’s finally time to try and figure out how to aquire  my new wind vane which I hope is still sitting in a box waiting for me in Southern California.   That and a new cooker is about as ambitious as I will get this year as far as the refit goes.  It’s hard to be working during this beautiful weather but in a month when I’m done it will have been worth it.

“hark, now hear the sailors cry, 

smell the sea, and feel the sky 

let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic…” 

― Van Morrison

 

 “-She is like the wind, open and free. If I cage the wind, would it die?

-Then don’t cage it, Mikhail. Trust it to stay beside you.” 

― Christine Feehan

Time and a bottle

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I’ve lost all concept of time, the sun rises and sets, the tides rise and fall, the wind comes and goes.  Early to bed, early to rise, the hours of light now drawing to nearly 18 hours a day.  I pull out a special bottle, tonight I’m drinking alone.

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My Nikon sits in the corner, my trusty little iPad loaded with fresh sailing pictures,and a note written to myself hangs over my bunk, film your life, be your own movie.  I pop the cork, pour a small glass and take a whiff of this big, in your face meaty red.  I jot got word my 12,000 mile road trip between Cabo and Alaska is off, I have something more pressing to take care of here and it can’t be rescheduled.  When April invited me to join her in her new caravan I was so excited my head nearly exploded,

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Back on level water, I’m getting over my disappointment but life goes on  I need to learn every nook and cranny of my minimalist rebel without a crew mobile office  how the hell do you film yourself with a DSLR.  Someday I might dive into the go pro world but it’s not a priority yet.

 Ive been scrutinizing every single item on the boat, what to sell, what to give away, what to throw away  I’m trying to make her as minimalist as possible, to completely de clutter my life so I can focus on my bottle, my camera and this damn story board that sits blank next to my markers  maybe I’ll just chuck it, I always seem to do better when I’m winging it .

its nice in the boat, tonight, I have a documentary about Cuba on, the candles lit and I’m sitting in my thinking chair with my company for the evening, that beautiful bottle…

“The concept of time, as it’s commonly understood by normal

people with normal jobs and normal goddamn lives, doesn’t

exist on the boat. The nights spread out like the dark,

godforsaken watery highways that distinguish them, and the days run

together like Thanksgiving dinner smothered in gravy. You

never really know where you are or what time it is, and the outside

world starts to fade away.

It’s cool.” 

― Tiffanie DeBartolo, How to Kill a Rock Star

Roam

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Drifter, dirtbag, vagabond, Trekker, cruiser, sailor, voyager, transient…we wanderers for the wind go by many names but we all have one core trait, movement.  The nomadic life of drifting from one place to another fits me like a glove.  The sound of fluttering sails and line running though a winch, soon replaced by the whoosh of the waves, that’s my home. 
  
The sailing life isn’t only about sailing though, most of us spend far more time exploring from the hook than we do at sea.  When I sailed south along the Gold Coast we barely covered 4,000 miles in an entire year.  That’s about 40 sailing days out of 365. On Sookie, my back pack is always ready to rumble and by bike is always ready to roll. Sookie is always ready to go for that matter as well.  We live in a perpetual state of hurry up and wait and the waiting is just as fun.  No need for lights on the bike when the moon is full.  I love night sailing every bit as much as I do day sailing and wandering through a dark Forrest quiet like a mouse, or maybe a ninja.   People who say they don’t have time are kidding themselves. There is always time to do what is important. 

Looks like perfect weather all week, lots of work to do on the boat but I have a feeling I may just blow it off and go sailing, April is a much better month for boat work. Finding sunny days in the 70’s in March??? I love global warming.  It’s still blowing my mind that I will be on the east coast by Christmas getting ready to point east, then south, clear warm water, wind and like minded drifters, off to see the world.  It’s hard not to get ahead of ourselves, all good things come in time, it took me seven years after committing to my Bromton before it came into my life, the boat, a bit longer. So we pass through doing this and that as the weather permits.

This life will never find you, you have to search it out, make it happen and be ready to roll with the punches because when you least expect it expect it. When Sookie landed in WA my two weeks in the  boat yard turned into 12 and it was another 8 before we had our maiden voyage, these things take time. 

I’m still looking to earn some freedom chips and every day I wake up wondering where I might drop my hook in the evening, it’s good to have a mobile home, my backpack my second home and my Brompton, my iron horse. We are unstoppable, naturally powered, off the grid and free to roam. 

“You gotta run more than your mouth to escape the treadmill of mediocrity. A true hustler jogs during the day, and sleepwalks at night.” 

― Jarod Kintz, This Book is Not FOR SALE

Dead silence

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I hate nature, the words slipped out, my world shattered by the silence. We live in a crewel world but nothing compared to what our wild friends live or die. In the wild every second counts, eat, sleep, kill or be killed.  My most difficult task this week is to find a model plane for a photo shoot or maybe it was agonizing over which varnish to use this year.  Simply put us humans have it pretty easy, at least here in Canada we do.

  
Leaving Blind Bay was a hard one, I wanted to stay there forever.  Crystal clear water, white sandy beaches and no effing bears…  Ok there might have been a bear but still it has all the elements that make me sail.  It’s why I’m ok drinking warm beer and yet another night of surprise, half cooked lentils and onions. It’s why I put up with the cold, the storms here are even scary when your at the dock. I put up with poverty, rain, way way too much wind, my horrible cooking and even my man stink. 

I do these things because one day it happens, the dock lines are remeved in favor of really good ground tackle.  The lights shut off and we light candles.  The clothes go away, except for foulies that seem to get used a bit too often for summer.  Everything we eat and drink is the same temperature.  Our life’s revolve around dumping trash, finding water and, well…sailing.

Sitting in some beautiful bay I don’t remember the name of or the island it was attached to life is good.  The golden evening light has the cliffs exploding, there isn’t a drop of wind and it’s dead silent.  Then it happens, the cry of a crane, and the scream of an eagle, round and round they go, the silence is shattered.

Watching this battle to live and kill or be killed, felt so un natural.  To date I had never seen an eagle get its prey and was beginning to believe them to be the most inept hunters on the planet.  This view to a kill had me unsettled, I rooted for the crane, maybe it was a Blue Herron.  They climbed so high we could barely see them but we could hear the crys  of the Herron. It tucked its wings spiraling towards the earth, the eagle right on its tail.  I was sure this would be his get away, he would fly into tight brush, or the trees.  He landed straight in the water and with one last scream, it was all over, dead silence. The eagle won and the words slipped out of my mouth, I hate nature. As humans we aren’t hunted and survival is pretty easy, we tend to be our own worst enemys.  Be careful what you seek, you might actually get it, even if you don’t.

“High and fine literature is wine, and mine is only water; but everybody likes water.” 

― Mark Twain

Escape

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It’s a rainy dreary day, one best spent studying maps and and making obscure journal entries. I have Jack Johnson playing on  iTunes, I’m listening to Escape, better known as the Pina Coloda song.

  
The life nomadic is my chosen path but even in the middle of this wonderful island journey I find myself a bit lonely from time to time. My little Bromton is a cure all for the blues of rainy days and Monday’s.  I try and figure out why my beer and coffee are always the same temperature as I finish detailing her from yesterday’s island ride.  I feel like I’m living inside a ukulele, the acoustics in this boat are amazing.

  
I wrote two new songs this week, I think I might have a recording contract in my future.  Do people pay for tone deaf non musicians…I can’t stop singing, while on my bike, hiking the local trails, today I’m singing in the rain.

  
  Two hot fried eggs on a bed of potatoes and the galley is clean, the bike is clean, I’m  a bit stinky so maybe it’s a day for my weekly shower.   The calm still of the day matches my mood.  Tucked into my quarter berth wrapped in big brown and super thick winter socks, my cocoon is a good one.  I think I may just stay here all day planning my escape.

 If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain

If you’re not into yoga, if you have half a brain

If you like making love at midnight in the dunes of the cape

Then I’m the love that you’ve looked for, write to me and escape

While you were sleeping

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Thoreau believed to affect the quality of the day was the highest art. I woke early to a dead calm and at false dawn.  The cool of the morning found me riding Brompty down quiet country roads as the word came to life.  The crows serenaded me as the little ticking of my rear hub whirred away happy to be laying a few miles. 

  
It’s a shame that most people sleep through this part of our life and lives.  My splotchy half shaved chest looking something like the waxing scene in the forty year old virgin is a bit itchy and a reminder of my heart stress test.  They are trying to rule everything out so with a dozen electrodes hooked up to little bald patches on my chest I started the slow walk on the tread mill.  By the time it ended it was damn near verticle and I was sprinting.  When it finally came to an end the doctor smiled and said, well it’s not your heart, and it’s not your lungs.  I kicked the hell out of that machine but was also surprised at how out of shape, for me at least I am.  It’s amazing how fast we lose it, but also how fast we regain it.

  
So there is nothing wrong with my body, next step, the neurologist to check out my brain and why I have near constant vertigo.   I get to ride Brompty to Seattle for this one so I’m super excited even though I have already made it clear I won’t consider any form of surgery on my brain damaged brain, I can deal with the dizzy world I live in just fine.  That’s the thing about the Brompty, when it hits bad I can just stop and sit down till it passes, not so much on the boat. 

  
Tonight we’re celebrating on Sookie, fine wine, my home made cabbage salad with salami and really good cheese.  I’m 99% vegan but I love to indulge and tonight will be a big one topped off with a bit of dark chocolate. It’s hard to believe it’s already spring but these islands have literally exploded. Spring is the best time on these islands, come on down for a visit. 

  “Don’t go around saying the world owes you a living. The world owes you nothing. It was here first.” 

― Mark Twain

Here’s stormy

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I love the smell of jet fuel in the morning. It happened with the suddenness of a broken shoe string. Spring has sprung, the weather has turned warm and dry, there is no more condensation in the boat. Everywhere I look nature is in full bloom. 

  
I should be working on Sookie, she needs some serious attention after her long cold winter. I should be looking for a job, finding a sailing mate, doing laundry, anything but today is a day for riding. Brompty is calling my name and there are dozens of secret beaches to find and explore.

The budget may be busted but Sookie is in her finest state ever. All her sails have been inspected and are in good order, her new cruising chute needs to be rigged as does her new storm jib.  Lockers overflowing and ready for 90 days complete with really good booze, yummy snacks both sweet and salty for those long hot windless days of summer.  Good tunes and a sound system that will blow your brains out should you choose.  A dink minus roars and a pump but I’m working on that one.  2.5 hours on the iron Jenny and an almost full tank of fuel. I need to top that off as well as my emergency one gallon tank brings me to 4 gallons of fuel, easily enough for the rest of the year. 29 gallons of water in portable movable tanks and a pile of fuel for my little cooker.

My A.D.D. Swashbuckled my trip to Bellingham for peanuts but that will come soon enough. I finally got a pair of shoes but it looks like they will get tucked away today. I love my new kicks but they also represent society, the binding of our feet is the first step to voluntary slavery. A noose around the neck, they call it a tie but mentally all these things bind us and keep us shacked chasing those oh so important little green pieces of paper.  The beard is growing out as is my wig, I’ve decided to re grow my dreadlocks, a final step off the map.

The cruisers delema is always a fine line of procuring almost enough money without sacrificing too may of our oh so precious life units in the process.  Finding myself broke with a boat that is ready, willing and able is the first and most important step, ther is a fine process to the budget cruiseres outfitting. The bug out boat must always be fed first just in case something crazy happens. From there a few freedom chips will get the job done.  Summer ends  in 5 short months so every second counts, starting as soon as I get back from my ride of corse, all work and no play makes stormy a dull boy.

“Get busy living, or get busy dying.” 

Andy Dufresne The Shawshank Redemption 

Untie the lines

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Yet another blow has me locked  inside hiding from the storm.  Sookies new surround sound sound system fills the void between the sun and summer.  I’m looking for a new place to drop my hook, maybe BC, not the gulf islands but Cortez is sounding good and I think i can scrape up a bit of work there.  Moving when you own a boat is as easy as untying the lines.

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Sitting at the fuel dock smoking a ciggi and sipping on a big red, I leaned back into the life lines and smiled.  As sailors we all put up with a serious amount of shit to find that perfect little cove.  Like hearing voices in my head she whispers to me  from the waters edge in the rolling sand.  Sailing is sudductive, but the lifestyle is the Sadductress, luring us in day by bay, week by week until one day we wake up with that distant stare in our eyes, the stare only a sailor knows. It’s a stare that says, I’ve been around.

I remember arriving at an old Rickety Wooden dock! beaten; I dropped to my hands and knees, kissed the dock and swore I would never go to sea again as long as I lived, a hurricane at sea will do things like this to us.  Less than 24 hours later I was back out, sailors have short memories or should a say selective ones. The rattle from the chain pipe after a hard passage, cracking a warm beer because you can’t afford ice, yet you have beer.  That feeling falling asleep drifting on a cloud, your whole world being held in place by a half inch piece of string.  If I could bottle these things I could make my fortune, but these experiences  can’t be bought and sold like a two dollar whore.

If you want to feel the freedom of voyaging there is only one way to do it.  Get a boat, any boat will do.  Quit your job, cut the dock lines and point her in any direction. It doesn’t matter where you go, just go anywhere you’ve never been.  You don’t have to push your comefort level to find her gentle whisper, you have to throw it to the wind.  You will learn a new level of fear that you didn’t know existed, like when the wind blows so hard it actually knocks thirty foot seas flat.  This fear is raw and it’s alive in all of us, all we have to do is find it, on the other side is that bay.  Its  there where you will hear her quiet whispers and in her you will develope the stare of the voyager.

Quiet nights of quiet stars quiet chords from my guitar 

Floating on the silence that surrounds us.

Quiet thoughts and quiet dreams quiet walks by quiet streams

And a window looking on the mountains and the sea, how lovely. – Frank Sinatra 

Long distance touring on a Brompton

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I’ve developed a very irrational relationship with my still yet to be named Brompton, I refer to her as Brompty but she deserves a real name.  I literally don’t go anywhere without her, spend way too many hours keeping her shiny and perfectly cleaned. I should say maintaining her but after a thousand miles she still is in perfect tune.  A bit awkward and dorky looking she is a work of art, if I had a wall I would hang her on it like fine art.

 

I learned quite a bit about this little gem rolling 750 miles through the Hawaiin islands and my departure date for Cuba is rolling up fast. She climbs well and descends frighteningly fast, I’m sure I have topped 50 on her. Braking on the long descents is unacceptable on her 16″ wheels so I just scream as the heroin of adrenalin surges through by body. She can carry a good load but I’m working on a very minimalist cargo focusing on the experience rather than the gear. Speaking of gear little Sookie makes for the best bike rack and is loaded to the brim, her lockers are all topped off and ready for our move.  

To date I have had her on both commercial airlines and puddle jumper float planes, buses, a taxi, train, car, and with a little bit of luck she will get her first helicopter ride this week when my dinner date lands in front of the boat to pick me up. I’ve used her for commuting, touring, and just plain riding around for no reason whatsoever. She fits perfectly in my boat, under a hostel bunk bed, in my one man tent and at the foot of a bed with really soft white sheets I found the luxury of sleeping in while on tour.  

The Brompton is the smallest and easiest folding bike on the market and was dirt cheap to purchase considering that today is about day 2074 in my boycott of cars. At 27.2 lbs she isn’t light or heavy. I always say that she isn’t small, she is fun size. My plan is to start riding south from the Arctic Circle on the solstice right back to Sookie. I ordered a map today but can’t imagine it will take more than 6 weeks giving me a good spring sailing season and a month of summer sailing. September 15th it’s down the coast to LAX to the Caribbean with a little hopper to Cuba. The beauty. Of the Brompton is that I can go from touring mode to tourist mode in about one minute.  

So there you have it, from polar bears to communists, the last pieces of the puzzle are being sorted. Come join me if you dare or sit back and have a cup of coffee and enjoy the ride through my little journal. My little Brompty isn’t a bicycle.  She is the fountain of youth, expedition SUV, urban assault vehicle, psychologist, stormy nanny,and with out a doubt the most fun you can have with your cloths on. Not that endorse doing anything with your clothes  on.

Disclaimer,  continued reading of this blog may result in wanderlust, day dreaming and A.D.D. Induced A.D.D. Proceed with caution. 

Shit or get off the pot

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I get a text early in the morning , it reads. “Stormy, you’ve been a good friend to me and I know how much you love the Dana 24. I’ve decided to give you mine.  You can come pick it up anytime you want, it’s in front of my house.

  

On the bottom of the bay.   If this was from anyone else but Adam I would think it was a joke.  A few hours later Rainbow was floated, the engine pickled and the leaking dripless shaft replaced with a nice flax packing gland.  We have her looking like a million bucks inside and out.  A full listing will be up soon. She is very fairly priced at $36,000. Price is firm.  Her interior is bright and fresh and she shows the true quality of Pacific Seacrafts Build.

For less than the price of a Compact car you can have a home that will carry you anywhere in the world, not only safely but in complete luxury.  I’m out sailing with my brother, he is a big boat sailor, 40-50′ is his norm.  When he first arrived on Sookie, he commented that he had forgotten how small she is.  Days into our journey his mind has changed, “now I see why you love this boat so much, she is perfect in every way”. 
Little boats come with little price tags, easy maintence and small yard bills.  There is always a slip available and always an admirer at the dock.  The Dana 24 is a ship that you can almost fit in your pocket.  I look out my porthole in the morning rain and smile at rainbow, she is very much like Sookie was when I found her.  A bit on the older side but a rock solid foundation that has always been loved and sailed hard.  Best of all she can be easily plopped on a trailer and taken anywhere you want with ease, or just head out and make the big left. Time and time again these boats cross oceans safely and comefortably.  Come on down and let’s go sailing, your life will never be the same. Freedom isn’t a risk worth taking, it’s an inaliable right worth perusing.  You’ll never be younger than you are right now, shit or get off the pot.  

Left the harbor at 11:00 pm, light winds on an ebbing tide.  My first sail on Sookie, solo, engineless and free as a bird, we ghost across the inky blackness following Orion’s Belt.  I’ve literally waited my whole life for this moment.  From the log of Sookie  at sea. 

This is not a sailing blog

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This is  a blog about a sailor.  We slipped the lines early,  I feel fortunate to have the most reliable motor available on my little cutter, one pull of the cord and we were off.  Sails pulled and pulling the swoosh of the ocean quickly replaced the quiet purring of my iron genny.  Sailing  tunes thumping over Sookies sound system to the dark overcast skies we pointed her high flying all plain sail.  She settled in at 20 degrees of heel hard on the wind occasionally dipping  and bowing to the higher gusts. This was a foulie day, snugged up and warm in our warmies we charged at well over our theoretical hull speed.  I have never had any joy greater than sailing a ship designed by Lyle Hess  

 
  This is how I found my nav equipment after a rousing beat to windward, we were having so much fun sailing I guess we didn’t have time to notice it was a bit bumpy out.

Making long tacks, I’d call out just as I could see the whites of the crabs eyes, slipping through the eye we dodged ferry boats, the coast guard and many commercial fisherman, not many sailors out on this day.  I could hear the clink of bottles and tin cans as they settled into thier lockers as we pushed hard to weather. Sookie is stocked for the season with a few cases of this and that,which I still need to find homes for.  Every locker is stuffed to the brim with good food, treats and snacks and all sorts of secret pirate bountys. The wind carried us all the way to the breakwater and then vanished with the clouds leaving a warm sunny day.perfect for jumping on the Brompton and exploring inland.  

We climbed mountains with sailors legs, ducking, swerving and whooping the downhills all the way to best damn little bar this side of the Brick.  Back at the spa I slipped into the most elegant shower on this big blue earth washing a thousand salty miles from my wind and sun worn skin before plopping into the jacuzzi.  Fresh and refreshed we made our way back to the boat for gin and tonics while we prepared our picnic dinner, packed a bottle of wine and set off to poach a hot sunny deck in utopia.  Night found its way to our party and our party  It’s way to Sookie, heater cranking out BTU’s, Sookies butternut interior pulsed with the base as my favorite playlist spun us into the night. 

In three days we sailed, toured by bike on Lopez, Orcas and San Juan.  Drank the right amount of wine, feasted on way too much good food and and smoked a little contraband.  We stayed up late and slept in as long as we chose too.  I can’t say for sure what a sailing blog is supposed to be like but I’ll be damned if I don’t know how to tell the story of a sailor.  I guess a lifetime and a bagillian sailing miles around the planet  teaches us thing or two about life and living. 

The wind is moaning through the rigging, I’m  alone, warm and tired, a great glass of wine in  one hand and a Cohiba in the other. Little Sookie is in rare form gently tugging at her many dock lines waiting for our next adventure.  Content I lean back and remember the first of many times I sailed in and out of  Cabo, this one I was solo. I paddled to shore and an old man on the beach asked me if my surfboard was my dingy, no I replied, it’s my life raft. 

If you want it badly enough you will make it happen and if you don’t you will make excuses.  From the log of Sookie 48 degrees north 

My brain is broken

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I stumbled dizzy and light headed back to the boat.  I quietly closed the hatch sat down and let out a deep sigh.  Tears welled up in my eyes and the flood gates opened, I wasn’t crying because i was sad, it’s more like the weight of the world had been lifted off of my shoulders.  I’ve been fighting a lonely battle for thirty years and for the first time in my life somebody actually listened to me.  My brain is broken.
It's not me its my A.D.D.
The next step is off to see a neurologist, maybe something can be done. If I was in a wheel chair or on crutches, somebody, anyone might actually listen to me but because I walk up right, I’ve always been blown off, even by my best friends and family. Explaining it is like saying look right there in front of you, it’s a flying saucer, but they don’t see anything so they think you are crazy.

I’ve had to work 10 times harder than the average person just to survive any given day.  I can’t read a menu  or a job application, or even the directions on the new pills I’m suppose to be taking.  People always ask me why the only thing I ever order in a restaurant is bacon and eggs, I haven’t been able to read print for over 10’years.  I’m so  grateful   to have my vision that I don’t complain, I see beauty in everything and appreciate every ounce of what I can see.  It all comes at a cost though which is head aches, blurred double vision dizziness, loss of alertness, loss of appetite due to being natious half the day.  it’s a nightmare that I’ve been living for 30 years now and I’m totally ok with it.  My ear infection led me to a chance meeting with and awesome Doctor.  Mild discussion turned a little deeper, she suggested I see a nurologist and explained how and why my brain was formed from birth.  My reconstructive eye surgery cured one huge problem but created a new one.  My brain and eyes have been in a knock down drag out fist fight every waking moment of my life.  My brain doesn’t believe what my eyes tell it and my eyes don’t  believe what my brain tells them.

It s such an amazing relief to finally have one single soul  tell me I’m not crazy and explain why. So life goes on, the challenge is greater every day and I’m up to it.  Time for a nap and then a nice ride on Brompty, life is good here in the islands.  I’m often asked how I can be so spastically happy every second of the day.  The answer is because I value every single second of the life I have been given. If this is the worst thing that happens to me I am truly the luckiest man alive. 

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing at all.”   ― Helen Keller

The Brompton life

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Why is it so effing cold in here. On a full belly of chicken stew my mind almost feels clear. I have to take another one of those damn pills soon and back into the fog I will slide. Another cold stormy night, the tropical days of riding my little Brompty through islands of Hawaii are but a distant memory.

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im exhausted from yesterday’s storm, boats… A good home for sure but my attention is being pulled in every direction, Sookie, Rainbow and Brompty all competing for our painfully short spring days. I’m still torn between the islands, Bellingham and Port Townsend but I have till the end of the month to figure it out.  I’m spazimg toward riding my little Brompton from the Artic circle, starting on the solstice and heading south. I need movement badly.

All of this being cooped up feels so claustrophobic, my muscles atrophying and my mind numb with boredom. Everything is so easy on the bike, ride, eat, sleep, repeat as necessary. In my blindness I’m finding the boat to be more of a master than a servant but the bike has no bounds. Far too many hours spent in my quarter berth studying the very beautiful interior of Sookie.  Aboard her I feel like I’m living inside a ukulele, I don’t want to give up my little home but the cold is too much, It taxes my days, my journal is a jumble of madness pictures of long winding roads, doodles of Brompty and upgrades, there are always upgrades.  A polar shift is happening, I can only imagine where it will find me.
“To bike, or not to bike: that is not a question”

Love and rum

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Digging through my lockers looking for something fun to eat I stumbled across a bottle of Caribbean rum, this could be fun I thought to myself.  My last can of pineapple was served for dinner and the nectar of the islands made a perfect rum punch. writers and booze, go figure.

  
The Internet is down and I’m sick of all the books aboard so I pulled out my old log book for a trip down the islands of time.  The boat was an old Ericson 27 purchased through probate, it set us back 2500 bucks and came with a brand new Diesel engine and the wrong prop.  Day one we added new rigging, the sails were tired and we couldn’t coax more than 2.2 knots at 2200 rpm’s with that crap propeller.  Easter weekend at Catalina was amazing but all too soon we had to get back to the mainland.  We didn’t have a dingy so I jumped the shore boat for a ride to grab 4 lattes for the 26 mile sail to Seal Beach.  It looked a bit nasty out so I asked the driver If she had heard the weather, she told me it was blowing 15 knots and should be a beautiful sail home.  I remember thinking it looked a lot more like 25 but it all slipped from my mind. Julie my then girlfriend was very new to sailing and I didn’t want to scare her on the maiden island voyage of our little sailboat.

We had the main up before exiting the protected harbor of Avalon and the big jib want up just as fast.  Less than five minutes after leaving the harbor and out of the lee of the island it hit us hard.  The boat slammed over as I released the jib,, we were instantly out there and it was freaking crazy.  I passed the helm to Julie who was already a rocking sailor after about 5 day sails.  I got the big jib down while waves rolled across our decks burring me knee deep with every avalanch of water.  I didn’t have any type of harness so I tied a rope around my waist and the mast on my way to put up the little jib.  It was still way too much so I came back to reef the main sail.  I had to lower the whole sail, reef it and then pull it back up.  The swells were huge and half the battle was just staying on deck.  I got the sail down and in the process the slug retainer fell loose and out went the entire main sail only held by the foot and Haliard.  I looked back at Julie and smiled as I cursed the weather.  I got the whole sail back aboard and fast to the boom, then crawled back to the cockpit.

One look back at the island and I was surprised at how small it already was, we discussed the sail plan and while still were over powered we went with just the little jib. I told Julie if she wanted to call it and head back to Avalon for a drink it was now or never.  She asked me if we were in any danger and when I told her no she smiled and screamed into the wind.  Sitting behind her, my arm wrapped around the winch to keep me from falling overboard I took pictures of the huge seas rolling right over our bow, it was beautiful and frightening all at the same time.  Foam streaked across the surface of the water, the rigging moaned  its mournful song and our little boat was booking.  

Next thing I know I’m underwater having been slammed by a huge wave, both of us were awash as the cockpit was full of water.  In the back of my mind my biggest fear is that Julie was going to flip her wig.  I popped up searching for her face as and as she popped up drenched and sporting the biggest smile I have ever seen, she screamed over the wind, what the fuck! We got the boat back under control and continued on without a care in the world, this girl is a sailor.  The further we got away form the islands the smaller and less steep the waves got until they were down to about 12′ with 25 knots of fairly steady breeze.  Back at the dock a local racer came over and asked where we came in from, when we told him he asked if we would join his crew, couldnt get any of his buddies to sail on days like today.  We both declined preferring out private little world.  After the boat was all wrapped up, I gave Julie a hug, and handed her a glass of rum punch, she was and still is the real deal.  There is no better feeling that being at sea with a good boat, a confident crew, and yo ho ho,  a bottle of rum.

Where ever  we want, we go.  Captian jack Sparrow 

My dream ship

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Being bedridden has its benefits. feeling to weak to do anything physically fun, I pulled put my old journal that I used when searching for the worlds finest pocket cruiser.  We all have a different set of persmters, so my list was for me.  I can honestly say that while I have found a few minor anoyances with the FC 22, by design, she is without a single fault.  Her quality of construction is far and away one of the finest  sailboats ever built but that is really neither here nor there.  Why pay for a blue water cruiser if your never going to sail more than 20 miles from your home port.

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My first and most important criteria other than finding a boat that was easy on the eyes was a very low ballast ratio, Sookie carries 33% and it was one of the main selling points.  Add 400 lbs of water and 3,000 lbs of personal gear and stores to a small boat and you are sunk.  I loved my Flicka beyond words but we simply couldn’t load enough gear without a massive speed handicap.  I would still sail that boat anywhere but it would be a solo endeavor or a painfully slow one, which would still be better than staying home.

Number two on the list was a good sailing boat.  I would never call Sookie fast but she has surprised quite a few bay racers over the course. Nothing in the world is more miserable than a slow boat.  My Westerly Cirrus Sport was the slowest sailboat on the planet.

Third on my list was what I call wandering self sufficiency.  Basically a boat that I can maintain and work on anywhere in the world without having to haul her out.  A stern hung rudder, a massive tabernachling mast step and a full length keel so she can be easily and safely careened.  I also  want a boat with a minimum of through hulls beneath my waterline, my Allegra had zero.  Sookie has three which as far as I’m concerned is three too many.

Number four is a good comefortable layout including a very manageable galley, the largest berths available, and multiple opening ports which no matter how many you have will never be enough in the tropics.  Sookies interior is near flawless with one huge problem.  Her quarter berths were raised quadrupling the storage but also making it so you can’t sit back without whacking your head either on the corner of the dog house, or the under deck storage boxes behind.  I have had plans to re do this since day one but I’m so greedy of her ample storage that I just can’t seem to bring myself to make the change.  This is Sookies number one most annoying feature, she only has two.  I’ve drawn a thousand different designs for her insides and can never find anything that beats lyles original drawing.  I’m even in the process of making a huge athwart ship double nest in the main cabin.  It pops in and out in 10 seconds and makes a wonderful playpen for lazy days like today.

5, Sookies   cockpit is big and wonderful with a very high bridge deck and seaworthy foot well.  Unfortunatly I’ve yet to figure out a way to make her cockpit comfy for long passages as she has no combing whatsoever.  I’m working on completing  her lifelines and lee cloths will be a big help, adding in good chill spots on watch but none of them will ever be protected from the weather.  I have a kick ass pair of foulies and an offer for two new free sets so on a small boat like the FC it just goes with the territory. On the flip side, her decks are incredibly wide for a boat with only an 8′ beam and her transition from cockpit foreward is very safe and easy. I agonized over her stanchion design wanting the tallest ones I could add without detracting from her beautiful lines, my first 3 years were without any and I’m quite pleased with what I have come up with. Sookie has a 6″ raised deck from the back of the dog house to the front of her scuttle hatch.  The double lifelines along this area are 22″inches and I’m adding a 48″ hight removeabke line for when at sea.  In her cockpit and foredeck the stanchions are 28″ high.  If I could do it over I think I could have snuck in an extra two inches but it’s such a fine line between sailing yacht and hobo on the water.  I’ll never add a single thing that takes away from Sookies lines or sailing ability.  Good clean uncluttered decks are safe and I like that feeling.

Last on the list is sail management and fittings.  I will never own a boat that has deck plates, I prefer outboard mounted chain plates as they rarely leak and if they do can be renewed for 10 bucks with no interior water damage.  I love roller furling but it has literally destroyed the performance of sailing ships in the name of saving a little work on the for deck.  Rarely will,you ever have the proper weight or size sail or sheets for that matter.  Cruising boats have what I call performance thirds.  A third is design, a third is water line, and the last third is sail plan.  Roller furling takes away 33 percent of you performance straight off.  The lazy factor in all of us that has us rolling in our head sail because its easier than reefing the main is an adittioanl performance penalty.  I’m not saying I don’t love roller furling but you still need just as many sails as Hank on, the only difference is that they are much more difficult to bend on.

Sookie is my elveth boat and I ve learned quite a bit over the years.  Today I got an email from a girl I have been consulting for, she wanted a full keel pocket cruiser to sail around the world even though she’s never skippered her own boat.  Today she closed on a beautiful Ericson 25 plus.  It cost less than 5k, in the last 4 years the seller added new sails, a new furling system, new rigging, all new cushions in and out and a new motor, it’s the cleanest little boat I have ever seen and shows in pride of ownership.  Best of all its in the marina only blocks from her home.  In a few weeks we start her sailing lessons and I asked her what she was going to do with all the money she saved.  Monday morning she is quitting her job and in a few weeks she moves aboard.  She is taking 6 months off to see if she loves sailing as much as she loves reading all the sailing blogs.  Her goal is the San Juan islands, small and beautiful just like her perfect little pocket cruiser.

I’m writing this because I’m bored and have cabin fever, every time I stand up I get dizzy so today is one of healing and rest.  My time could have easily been over this week.  The question is, how much time do you have.  Stop dreaming and go buy a boat And  do a little living while you can.  If you love it enough to make the big plunge and buy your dream boat so be it.  If it turns out to be more than you expected you can allways sell the boat, cross this one off your list and move on.  The only way you will ever know is by diving in head first, see you out there.
“Why did the old Persians hold the sea holy? Why did the Greeks give it a separate deity, and own brother Jove? Surely all this is not without meaning. And still deeper the meaning of that story of Narcissus, who because he could not grasp the tormenting mild image he saw in the fountain, plunged into it and was drowned. But that same image, we ourselves see in all rivers and oceans. It is the image of the ungraspable phantom of life; and this is the key to it all.” – Melville


The party’s over

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I really don’t know how to say this, so I will just spit it out.  The party’s over, and in a morbid way I feel guilty for letting everybody down.  Today I wrote my last will and testament.  Planning your own wake is actually quite fun, the plan is to have me cremated, put my ashes in my shit bucket and raid Sookies liquor stores which are ample.  Sail Sookie out, then throw the whole bucket, ashes and all into the deep blue ocean.  I have to say I was getting a bit jealous of the after party. The truth is my biggest worry through all of this is who will care for Sookie in the mannor in which she is accustomed.
Not for one single second  have I taken any of this seriously, I simply couldn’t give a rats ass about my last days.  I’m a pirate, a ninja and when my time comes I’m totally down with it.


Maybe that’s why I stay so young, because I haven’t a care in the world. I don’t have any stress not a single thought, when you live your life in the moment literally nothing can bring you down. Sure I won’t get to retire when I’m 75 and I doubt that anybody will feel sorry for me scrubbing toilets at that old age but the payoff for me at least is priceless.. I don’t have a plan, there are no dreams and wants and I’m not chasing my future. I simply exist in the time and space that I do and life is petty ok.

Of corse I have been given a wake up call, I’ve been burning the candle at both ends doing anything and everything I have to, to keep the party going.  I woke up today and it was petty fucking clear that my natural remodies weren’t working. A friend insisted I see the local nurse practitioner and that’s just what I did.  When she walked in she asked what was wrong and I told her straight up, I’m dying. She smiled and asked me why I thought I was dying. My answer, because everybody keeps telling me I’m gonna die.  This girl was seriously one of the most amazing encounters I’ve ever had in my entire life, we laughed and chatted and at some point she did do her doctor thing, turns out I have two haineous ear infections and just like that I was sent on my way with serious instructions and a promise that I would eat some food.  I’ve been a little too creative lately moving my food budget to the boat budget side.  Humm, take this, move it over here, and….it’s gone.
So that’s it, once again am a huge fucking let down, shit I’m the only person who can actually fuck up dying but I have to say I’m quite happy to get a few more good stories in while I’m at it.  Today I was notified that I may be 100% full of shit and I take those compliments very seriously. If my life seems to be lived beyond reality than I just may be doing something right.  Oh and my redicules vow I made, it was taken in a weakened state of mind, fuck that, I’m all in.

P.S. Thank you to all the people who sent me letters of concern but please don’t ever waste your valuable time worriying about me.  This isn’t my first rodeo.  I think Benjamin Franklin said it best when he said. “They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety.” 

The meaning of life

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A wake up and feel my neck, damnit it’s still there.  I have a lump the size of a golf ball one inch down and back from my left ear. It hurts most of the time, except when it feels numb. My whole neck is stiff and painful. It could be nothing, it probably is.

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I think about a lot, three days worth at least.  Is this it, is this where the journey ends.  I close my eyes and imagine running through a field with Chloe, both of us young and strong and healthy, a very peaceful state comes over me.  The human body is a lot like a cruising boat, it’s only as shippey as you maintain it, if you let it go too far, you’ll never get it back.  I do my best to care for not only my mind but also my body, most people I know question my age and outlook, they guess me much younger, but I’m not, I am my exact age and I feel like a million bucks minus this pain in the neck.

The days slowly flow by, Sookie rises and falls on the tide and I ask myself, have I seen enough.  They say you can’t cheat death but I beg to differ, I’ve been doing it my whole life by living and appreciating every second of every day I have been given.  I love people even when they don’t love me back and I do my best to be the most descent human I can.  When confronted with my future, the one thing I know is that I want more, but maybe that is just being selfish. Does anybody deserve to live the amazing and wonderful life I have been shown.

I think about my dog, my life, and my contribution and I am at peace. I think about all the petty BS in this world and petty unhappy people and wonder how it’s possible that they don’t appreciate the gift of life.  Criminals, bully’s, crooked polititions, evil corporations…  The one thing I know is that I’ve never sold out and I never will.  To truly live an authentic life we must start from the inside and create an authentic soul.  I’m gonna let it ride..

“What you do speaks so loudly that I cannot hear what you say.” ~Ralph Waldo Emerson 

Old iron sides

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The sea saw noise of three strand hemp lines pulling through the haws holes tells me my chafing gear has worn through, it’s gusting to 40 knots. Snuggled up in Sookie it’s hard to tell as she is a quiet boat that protects my mind from the shenanigans being played by Mother Nature.

  
I splurged on a red cabbage, I shouldn’t have but I did. I love chopping things, be it cabbage or a tree, there is something so romantic about cold steel in my leathery wind worn hands My fascination with honed metal also has me deeply in love with my cast iron skillet. I remember it just like yesterday going  to the gun store with a pile of cash to fill Sookies empty galley, I well and each and every item is sacred to me but the skillet is by far my most prised possession. 

  
Over the years I have collected this and that, always patient knowing some day my tidy little galley will be complete. Each of my cutting boards was hand picked to fit here or there, as was the very small collection of pots and bowls and…  I may be completely inept in the galley but it’s the heart of Sookie and the place where wall romantic notions are born.  The old saying couldn’t be any more true, the way to a mans heart is through his stomach. 

  
The storm rages on as I chop fry and serve a delightful breakfast for one.  Organizing for next weeks sailing trip I hang my shackle key in its usual spot, it was given to me by my friend Frenchie after I dropped off a pile of bronze parts in his cockpit. I don’t know his real enamel because we couldn’t understand a single word spoken by the other. It didn’t stop us from long nights by the wood stove laughing and drinking cheap red wine. Captian sterling made a lanyard for it last year so now it’s doubly special.

  
My new sails arrived today, an asym and a storm jib that is so cute I can almost stick it in my pocket.  The last part of the day was spent dock sailing trying to figure out the dousing sock between huge gusts of wind. I may just chuck the sock and stuff it in a small bag with piston hanks strung on the lifelines. Sookie loves her fancy new wardrobe and I’m sure it will add much needed excitement to those gentle Salish summer evenings.  I’m still dreaming of an all in or all out furling system for my jib but it’s a hard descision to commit to. Off the wind Sookies little Yankee is never enough when the wind falls between asym and yankee weather, a lapper on a roller is my dream come true but would also cost a year of cruising funds. As she sits he sail wardrobe is complete but I still want to add a third reef to her main and two to her staysail. 

  
I know I’m all of the place but that is the beauty of having a small cruising sailboat that was designed and built to take you all over the place, we fit each other like a glove. 

“You sell of the  kingdom piece by piece and trade it for a horse that will take you anywhere.” 

― Colin Wright

Calm between the storms

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When I arrived back in my little paradise I had a three day break in the weather to do a quick scrub, load all my junk, paint Sookies bottom and splash her. With the precision of a fine Swiss watch as soon as I had her fast at the dock the heavens opened up and the wind gods funneled down upon my Fine little ship.


I’ve been busy acquainting myself with the motor, acquiring new sails, light and heavy air, searching for a better solution to  my cooker and measuring and designing my new v- berth cushions and a privacy Curtian. Weather permitting I’ve been on the bike slaying the miles and exploring my little islands.  March has always been the month when I sneak out of the warm confines of Sookies womb and start to make her look smart, I can’t be bothered to do any mainetnece during the sailing season which seems to start a little sooner each year.

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I’ve been cheating on Sookie, lavishing attention on the little Dana I’ve adopted and the more I touch her and study her ins and outs the more I realize how vastly different these two fine little ships are. Today the sun has returned and between bike rides and feeding my hungry body I will bounce back and forth from project to project and boat to boat. Rainbow will launch in a few days and she needs to be perfect before she kisses the water.  She will be berthed right beside Sookie just like peas and carrots.

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Spring has arrived in the islands, little baby goats are bouncing around the fields and all the farm hands are getting ready for the most beautiful time of year.  I remind my friends it’s time to shake the cobwebs of winter out of their brains and get thier boats ready for what they were built for.   Ive got a bit of sailing in my near future but as soon as Sookie is tied safely back at the dock I’m taking Brompty to Saltspring Island for some inland exploration. I’m still, deeply torn between spending the spring on the  boat bobling around the islands or packing my little Brompton and setting out on an expedition.  Either way I won’t waste one second of my summer light indoors.  Once again the universe has been kind to me and placed a beautiful little flower in the palm of my hand.

“Is the spring coming?” he said. “What is it like?”…

“It is the sun shining on the rain and the rain falling on the sunshine…” 

― Frances Hodgson Burn

Stormys, believe it or not

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Im helping a young couple find thier dream boat when he starts to tell me this story.  He was sailing south from La Paz, he had fallen asleep and a wind shift put his Contessa 26 on the beach holing it severely in the process.  He abandoned ship with nothing  but the clothes on his back. I distinctly remember him describing the shirt he was wearing.  It read I’m with stupid. 

36' Pinky Schooner for sale 

He made his way by land back to La Paz and eventually found his was as crew on a large boat with the Swedish bikini team.  He sailed Mexico with them eventually finding his way back to San Diego, standing on the shore of Shelter Island looking over at a beautiful little Lyle Hess cutter and her captain.  He walked down to say hi.  She almost immediately let  she needed help getting he boat to Hawaii, according to him she was quite a looker and jumped at the offer to sail with her.  She immediately corrected him by pointing to a large boat across the way, that’s my new boyfriend.  Im sailing with him and want you to sail my boat to Hawaii for me.  

The conversation turned and somehow he talked her into selling him the boat. He sailed back to Mexico, across to Hawaii and years later back at the same dock, a few days after his arrival the girl came walking down having somehow tracked her boat. She wanted it back and he happily sold it to her so he could pursue a medical degree.  Now many years later as he is telling me this story with his new girlfriend “I’m guessing she was one of the bikini crew mates” we had an agenda for a good small blue water sailboat.

I can’t personally verify that any of this sailing snippet is true but when sharing the story with some sailing friend who had been in Mexico at the time they both laughed out load and called his name, they knew him well and conformed the whole story.  Dreams come in many forms, find your true love and your dreams will manifest before your eyes.  A single drop of water on my journal reminds me that I have a hole to fix in Sookies deck.  I had remeved a cleat and stuck a dallop of 42oo in the hole thinking I would get around to it later.  That was neatly five years ago and proof that your boat will never be done and that the work will never end.  I cleaned the hole and stuck another drop of sealant after adding one more thing to my list.  

Worship the body not the mind

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Morning is my favorite time of day, lost in the halfway house of consciousness I slowly exit the dream world, that magical place where the subconscious plays out to a bizarre and wild world. I stretch my body out like super man wriggle around, make a few sqeeky morning noises and close my eyes for a few more minutes.

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We’ve been trained from birth to just get out of bed tired and grumpy and fire our brains up for another long day of useless activity.  Let’s face it, when was the last time you wiggled your finger and said wow, my finger is feeling so good today. We don’t think out it until we’ve smashed it with a hammer, crying out cradling it and trying to make the pain go away. It’s sad but this is pretty much how we treat our body’s which are directly connected to our mental outlook. We spend so much time wanting to look good, and feel good mentally, we forget to pay attention to how good we feel.  How many times do you look at yourself in the mirror in a day, if it’s more than once its probably too many times. Do you paint your face to change your appearance into something your not, or put on your fancy clothes so you can strut around all day being fancy on the outside and miserable on the inside?

Every morning when the time is right, I crawl out of bed and drink a big glass of water.  I shake the sleep out of my body and stretch as far as I can in every direction focusing my mind on my body, appreciating it in every way.  I dig the spears of my fingers into my shoulders and slowly work them foreward down my chest and all the way to my toes.  Around the back and up my calves all the way as far up my back I can reach for a nice massage, if you have a partner, use this quiet time to pamper each other.  Once I feel like I’ve re-entered the waking world I put on a cup of coffee and make a snack, pull out my journal and jot down things that matter to me, sometimes I just draw a picture.  I always make time for myself before any other duties of the day.

It’s Thursday and today I will work for another but not until I’ve paid myself first, nourish the body and the soul will follow. Call your boss and take tomorrow off, in the scope of your work life it will have no bearing but in the scope of your mental life, it just may set you free.  Cancel your gym membership and buy yourself a new bike that you will love enough to name and ride it everywhere.  If you can’t afford a bike, get a new pair of running or walking shoes and use them, or even go barefoot and reacquaint your dogs with the soil of the earth.  Give your weights away and go outside and work in the yard, it’s spring and there is pleanty to keep you active.

Our only God given right on this planet is our physical and mental health, use your body like the machine it is and your mind will soar. I’ve never worked out a single day in my life.  Caring for Sookie keeps me strong as does sailing her and rowing my little dink from here to there. My bike is not and has never been for exercise, it’s a toy, my office and the place where my mind can separate from everything except the beauty of the lay of the land.  My bike makes me smile, it’s impossible not to smile while doing something you love so much. It keeps me aleart and strong physically. It also makes me mentaly strong, I find a mountian and tell myself, if I can top this, I can do anything, my legs turn the pedals but my mind pushes my legs.

It takes 21 days to create a habit, the ritual of self awareness will change the world as you know it. The fountain of youth can’t be bought or sold, it lives in your physical body and how you treat it.  Everything your mind sees and feels is a direct result of how you treat the vessel that contains it.

“Not thinking about anything is Zen. Once you know this, walking, sitting, or lying down, everything you do is Zen.”

― Bodhidharma

Damnit I got a job

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It’s not like I haven’t tried as hard as humanly possible to avoid it,  but it was bound to happen.  I’ve been put in charge of selling a beautiful 1985 Pacific Seacraft Dana 24.  So just like that I’m temporarily part of the work force again to earn a few bucks for Sookies new wardrobe. 

   
It’s getting pretty exiting around here.  My engine problems are solved, I have an unbelievably unseaworthy dingy minus the pump and oars but it’s super light and pretty in a tired old pathetic way, and I love it. I was just reading a recount of a 217 mile 24 hour run done in a little FC and it sounds frightening.  Give me a nice 100 mile average and I’m smiling, I don’t like to do anything fast.  Each day I slowly move ahead doing one simple project at a time.  I’m moving closer and closer to finding a perfect little oasis where it never gets cold and I can happily live aboard and do sailing trips between island explorations by bike. 

I can’t say where it has come from but Im rapidly losing all interest in going north.  If I could ship Sookie somewhere warm I’d haul her today and dry her out for new barrier coat and send her on her way. As of now she doesn’t have a smack of osmosis, hydrolysis or delamin her hull. Everybody keeps telling me to ignore it and fix it once it shows up. To me that’s like saying why make your children wear a seatbelt, you can always send them to the er to get put back together when you get in an accident.  Take one look at Sookie and you will know how much she is loved.  I owe her 120 days in the yard, the only question is when and where but Baja is looking better every day.  I’m secretly planning to add a dodger to her but that’s just Crazy talk.

Wow all this work on the boat, so what are my plans?  I don’t have a single one exept  to live every day free as bird, eat lots of lentils and potatoes, ride my Brompton a million miles and appreciate every second of it to my fullest capeability.  I’ve slipped into a simple groove and I love it. Sleep in, write a bit of jiberish, work on Sookie a bit, then walk up to boatyard with very short list of projects on The little Dana 24 I’m selling. In exactly six months, summer will start to end and another year will have slipped through.  Time flys when your having a god time. 

A sailor is not a boyfriend

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I received a letter from a very long lost girlfriend.  It reads, I still love you, I guess in a way it’s fitting to find it today because today would have and I guess in some ways is our anniversary.  She was the one that got away, on paper she was my every hope and dream but paper is cheap and common and I let her drift away on the tide, this ship has sailed. I responded with a letter that she will never understand…

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A sailor is not a boyfriend, he is a force of nature to be reckoned with, a shooting star, an explosion of comic dust in the wind.  A sailor is wild eyes and wild hair and man stink. I know you will love me when I procure a warm and safe home for you. I know you will love me when I provide food and shelter from the storms.  I know you will love me when I cradle your gentle heart. I know you will love me when I take you by the hand and carry you to the highest summets. I know you will love me when I take your body and mind to places you didn’t know existed. I know you will love me for all of these things.

Will you love me when my mind goes to those far off places that don’t exist, not even to you?  Will you love me when I stink of tropical sweat and diesel? Will you love me when I’m broken and can’t be fixed, and don’t want you to try?  Will you love me when I am doing the things a man should never have to do to protect you but I do?

Could you ever love the warrior in me, even though I’ve never hurt you?  Could you love the lifetime of pain that I carry bottled up inside my shipwrecked heart? Could you love a scared man at the tiller battling the forces of nature as I lay down my head before the glass ax of the sea all in your name? Could you ever love a tender heart that needs to be refilled as often as it is depleted?

The sailor is a father figure born from the wisdom of the sea, a leader of the ship and the family and the provider of all nourishment, physical and emotional.   I gave you my ship but you were never my anchor, you never held me fast.  In your body of water this ship was always drifting on a sea of dispair, lost in the fog of a rocky lee shore.

A sailor is not a boyfriend, he is the salt of the sea, the blood the pulses through your veins, the breath of life that fills your lungs bringing you to rise each day.  The moisture and flush of your skin. A sailor is not to be taken for granted because he will surely drift away on the tide and silently as he sailed in.

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analyzing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.” 

― Tupac Shakur

Cut from the same cloth

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A gust of wind throws me from one side of my v-berth to the other with a whack of my elbow.  An involuntary Yelp escapes with some choice words and a new day is born. I stretch and yawn wishing there was somebody in the galley making coffee and eggs, it’s good to want.

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I don’t know what day today is but it’s going to be a good one. The boat is cleaned from top to bottom when I hear a rap on the hull, a transient boat has slipped in from the night to take refuge from the storm. They bring me hot biscuits and a banana.  Snacks are my favorite food and we share a smoke with thick black coffee, they talk about boats and admit that they love little Sookie, thier boat is too big and they are loosing steam with the constant battle of maintaining it.


I invite them for lunch but they have other plans so I go about my cleaning and organizing when I get a text with a picture from a sailor who won’t identify themselves, it reads lonesome sailor not alone.  I climb into the storm to top off my one gallon water jug that I use to top off my two gallon water jug. While its filling I look up as Sookie and smile. I have never once walked or rowed away from my little ship without stopping to admire her beautiful lines. My slow life gives me the time to polish and preen her, we take good care of each other. I haven’t given up my dream of a few extra feet but that can wait until I need it. Today I find that I have more than enough of everything.


I have barely eaten a scrap of food since arriving on island, so much going on, so many decisions. I choose today to wipe my slate clean, I walk away from everything but the sea and a feeling of quiet calm fills me.  A make a huge breakfast for lunch,  my lockers hold a nice bounty of this and that. Sipping on a Virgin Mary i play house in my little sailboat   There are two types of sailors and they are both most excellent   The first who sails for sport and the second who makes sailing thier lifestyle. I’m the latter.  Chopping my potatoes and onions a gust of wind hits and knocks me into the counter, veggies go rolling and my Swiss Army knife almost cuts my toe off falling to the ground.  It feels so alive when you live on a sailboat, she never stops moving. The sailors I’ve been meeting these days are all cut from the same cloth, I have my tribe back and I’m very protective of them.


I make a nice stew, it has everything but the kitchen sponge in it. The slow simple life of a sailor fits me just fine. Drifting  from place to place, always meeting new smiling faces is my chosen path. Simple foods, simple people and simple dreams, what more is there. I’m listening to money talk on the radio, my old profession and a bit surprised and pained by how much emphasis the callers are putting into earning and saving money so they can retire when they are 70. I retired broke a very long lime ago, it’s amazing how we utilize our time once we realize how truly precious and valuable it is.
 “The Master said, “A true gentleman is one who has set his heart upon the Way. A fellow who is ashamed merely of shabby clothing or modest meals is not even worth conversing with.”  ― Confucius

Trust but verify

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Some people think I have a Peter Pan complex.  I think Peter Pan has a Stormy  complex. I’ve never found anything in this world that I can’t do including flying, not only like a bird but like a fish.  It’s just that I’ve found that there are many things that I won’t do.  Next time you feel the urge to say I can’t, don’t, you will literally just be lying to yourself. All humans bar none can accomplish anything they choose. Be honest with all involved and say I won’t, the  truth will set you free. Perhaps if I could consult our presidents, past, present and future, I teach them the one thing they have all lacked the most, integrity… Now that’s a real thing even if it’s rarely exhibited in this world.

As a boat surveyor one of the biggest conflicts I have is when both the buyer and the seller are on the same boat. It happens all the time, when asked a potentially serious question the seller says, what don’t you trust me? My response is always simple and the same, trust but verify… I’ve been doing this shit for damn near thirty years and honestly I find about a one percent of people who actually know thier shit. All the rest have just read too many fucking books.

So I spent the freebie day in my life of leap year on the docks BS-ing with boaters about this or that. I’m always careful not to tell people how to do things, it’s why I don’t share anything technical ever on my journal. I’ve been taught by the best of them and hopefully learned and maintained at least a smidgen of knowledge over the years but I’m often reminded that when you let your guard down for even one second the whole world can come crashing down around you.

So A friend asks me to go up his rig and… Well I can’t actually remember what the hell I was doing up there but as the skinny kid, I always get sent aloft.  I asked him if the set up was safe seeing as how it was already set up and I couldn’t see it for myself. He assured me it was and that he had been using it all week. I was in a hurry, my first huge mistake and didn’t want to take the time to drop the whole cluster onto the deck.  So I climbed into the bosuns chair and started to pull myself aloft.

Two feet shy of the masthead I ran out of room, the block and tackle was tangled and just couldn’t get any higher. When I tried to descend  I realized i was stuck Sixty feet off of the deck.  I was about to slither out of my chair and slide down the mast when the boat owner came back and we discussed my predicament no pun intended. About that time a pesky wasp flew up my shorts and… There are very few things in this world that get me flustered but having been raised with honey bees I’m not overly fond of small aggressive and highly excitable things with stingers. If your not a surfer refer back to my no pun intended line and you will figure out why I got my complete lack of  proverbial panties In a bunch.

In the excitement of having a wasp try and mate with me I somehow slipped out of the bosuns chair, now hanging on by a wing a prayer all I can say is thank god I used to be a climber cause I can hang by a single finger as long as need be.  Eventually we got the chair back to the deck, I had about three stings in my nether regions and all was well until I noticed that the whole time I was hanging by a rusty swivel at the end of the Haliard.   I could have easily fallen to my death all at the hands of someone too lazy to tie a bowline. Trust but verify, it just may save your life.

Back in my little cocoon of Sookie I’m writing notes for a project I’m working on, the premis is if you have to ask your not qualified. It’s quiet tonight, too quiet, a storm is brewing so I may just get one more day of solitude and lots of good writing time before I have to start my next round of excuses as to why I simply refuse to look for work.  I have eight days till its shit or get off the pot time . Life is getting pretty interesting around here.  I could easily blame my laziness on the fact that I’m  a no good, good for nothing so and so, which I’m am. But the truth is I have reached a heighten state of awareness and I’m patiently waiting for my future to come knocking on my door.

I love to tease my self about being the laziest person on the planet earth. Ive gone head to head with many and only been bested once. Don’t confuse laziness with counterproductivity.  I get more shit done in any given day than anyone I know. Over the years I’ve created a very solid foundation, now I’m ready to break ground on my skyscraper. I’ve Been stricken with the undeniable urge to create. Deep In contemplation I wonder if I can’t plug myself into my battery bank and charge them with my over abundance of energy and enthusiasm.

“Folks who never do any more than they get paid for, never get paid for any more than they do” 

― Elbert Hubbard

Art of Sookie

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Blood, sweat and tears, salt water is the cure for everything. I borrow a hack saw from my neighbor to cut my week old baget into thin slices so I can fry it in oil for breakfast with the last remains of my garlic. Sea biscuits are the soul food for the sailor. A constant stream of steam tells me my coffee is almost done.  I’ve purposely run out of sugar, it’s no longer on the menue, that’s ok I like my coffee black.


I found a great documentary radio station on my little short wave, It’s raining and calm but I’ve heard a blow is coming my way.  The boat is snug in her slip, the heater purring along and the water jugs are full. I still haven’t added a water tank but now after all these years I’ve gotten used to living out of portable jugs, I almost prefer it. I lift the bilge floor and pull out a can of cool tomato juice for a Virgin Mary, I might have indulged in a bit too much Caribbean rum last night.  The grey rainy day matches my mood as I try and face my future for the first time is a dozen years.

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I’ve always had a reason to be grounded, there  has always been something or someone who needed my help so here I’ve sat plying my local waters happy as a clam.  I woke up today and realized there are no more reasons to stay.  There are no emergencys and no responsibilitys.  I’ve always been more than good at living in the now but now I’m living in the potential future. It’s decision time and I have to make some big ones. For me all expeditions are alike. Leave with half as much money as I need and a rag tag equipment list. Go totally unprepared with zero knowledge of what I’m getting into and truly explore the world I live in, it’s actually as easy as it sounds.

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I’ve been hanging with a tribe of real pirates, the good kind. They don’t read cruising magazines, buy sailing books or browse blogs. They are sailors with proven track records and every one of them on a very minimalist budget.  They all sail reasonably ship shape boats, all of them larger than Sookie and I’m pretty sure they all agree she is too small. I don’t agree with them on boat size or in most cases anything when it comes to those things but that’s what makes us such a motley crew, we all bring something very different to the table. I have always felt safer in boats I can manage with sheer brute force and not mechanacle advantages.

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In my dream world I would sail a 25 x 9 foot version of Sookie but that doesn’t exist.  The 26 is a very ideal boat but only 9 were built. I love the BCC but I keep walking away from them, there must be a reason. I don’t have any notable complaints about my little 22 footer other than it is a pretty small space for two humans to occupy.  Personally I think she’s pretty dam cozy, her berths a huge and her galley just right. The combingless cockpit could use a bit more in the lifeline department but all and all she is a good fit.  Her simplicity is what makes her shine. Every single thing about her was made to sail and to sail easily and efficinly and fun.


Her stern roller attached to her massive boomkin works flawlessly and easily stores her tiny chain less anchor.  I still haven’t gotten around to adding a bronze hawse hole but they are hard to find used and as far as I know none are being made any longer.


Sookie carries a very robust 5′ bowsprite making it easy and safe to store my bower hooked on the bobstay. Sookie is by far the easiest boat to anchor I have ever sailed.  I have never once had a single issue with her anchor management although I wouldn’t mind a bit more of that back breaking chain. I love her morning bits and find them to be much more secure than a cleat for making the anchor line fast

I’ve never been a fan on roller furling but on this boat it could almost be an advantage. I like non overlapping sails if for no reason other than budget but they are easy and efficint in almost all winds I ever expect to encounter. I would like 2 sets of reef pints on her tiny 80 square foot stay sail though. My bonus sail would be an asym the best light wind mile eater on any boat.


Sookies main has two deep reef points and while there are times I have wished for a third or a tri sail the odds of seeing conditions much worse than those Sookie has already happily sailed through are extremely rare. She sails quite well under bare poles in the really gross stuff that I avoid like the plague.
Sookies original pintles and gudgeons are border line retarded by design and her weakest link and far out of my financial reach to replace them the way I prefer. I do have a very safe plan of attack on this and think I can get the job done for only about 20 cases of Charles Shaw.


Over all the FC has the best laid out and most comefortable deck of any boat over ever sailed. She has reasonably wide and flat decks with great nonskid. All the sail management systems are easy to use and spot on. I can reef her main in under a minute in pitch darkness on a heaving Deck with ease. Her jib down haul brings the head sail down without me going on the bow Sprite and is super fast and easy to use and the rat lines I spliced in catch the sails perfectly.


Down below she is a dream with a near perfect layout, I could make her much more comfy and some day I may but for now she works a treat.  I sleep like a baby, hey galley works for me and there is more storage than I know what to do with. I’m always making small refinements, she is my life’s project, my art and artistry.  I’m almost done with by two foot itis breakdown and settling into fun things like adding a spice rack and a little dowl to hold her TP which seems to be misplaced about 73 times a day.


Her poop bucket is a dream come true and goes back to captain Lea threatening to cut my pecker off is she catches me peeing standing up. The bucket may seem gross to some who haven’t used it but nothing is grosser than a leaking holding tank, it only takes a few drops.

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I’ve spent the last month in the deepest recesses of my mind trying to figure out a way to have my sailing support my writing without selling out or turning art of hookie into a street beggars venue. It’s one or the other, work or sail and I doubt I’m good enough a writer to spin yarns about washing dishes and cleaning toilets. All and all its a good problem to have. I love to write as much as I love to sail and explore.  I’ve been seriously ignoring my small responsibilities but only because I have an incredibly strong feeling that my truest future is right around the corner


For now I’ve turned my attention to converting Sookie from a seasonal vayaging home to a yacht in transit. Rome wasn’t built in a day nor will Sookie be completed in any short manor but the gentle tugs on the morning lines are letting me that she is as ready as I am to feel the giant rolling swell of the pacific pushing us along in the wake of the setting sun.

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I think I’m starting to smell that old familiar scent of stinky boy and stinky boat.  I think we both are ready for a good bath

“The most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. You trade in your reality for a role. You trade in your sense for an act. You give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. There can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. It’s got to happen inside first.” 

― Jim Morrison

Don’t quit your daydream

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I cut two inches off my sailing kilt, now its just a skirt, a pirate skirt Arggg.  I’m going on an adventure and it’s coming with we.  I pull out Brompty and pump her tires, do a quick inspection and ride her 100 yards to the airport, I’m hitchhiking to Roche to have lunch with a new friend.

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Riding down a quiet country road I’m overcome with creative instinct  I pull the bike off the road and start to write, I drift  off into some other dimension when I return I have a new story and I’m pleased. I make a B-line for the ferry, I’m in my mental groove and don’t want to waste a single second of it.

A quiet calm overtakes my day when I arrive back on Lopez. My journey to write becomes one of man and bike. I chase lance Armstrong down winding country roads, my quads burn, my lungs soft and weak, they are crying out for a break but I tune them out chasing an imaginary devil through the most beautiful island on the planet earth. Mental inspiration reaches overload, writing in my head as I spin up and down these lazy old roads.

I stop at the southern market for a drink of water and I find a filthy wrinkled 20 spot on the ground, I look around the empty old parking lot. I take my gift, it may as well be a million dollars. Cameled  up I head north in my highest gear, it s fruit day and I’m indulging in my unexplainable good fortune. The apparent wind cools and refreshes me while the afternoon sun on my back reminds me that spring is right around the corner.

I could ride forever, maybe someday it will. For everything I love about the freedom of sail, cycling is my panacea, it costs almost nothing, it makes you happy and fit and strong.  The freedom of the open road, that feeling of accomplishment at the end of a long day, the promise of sliced summer sassage and a nice crisp ale, lounging around a camp fire, it’s a very primal experience.  The only boundary on the open road is that of your own physical stamina which grows every day. I pamper my bike, she is sacred to me, she represents the one thing the world can’t steal from me, my health.

Coasting home, my pack filled to the brim with my good fortune I ponder my digital office. I need to find the smallest tools that can capture the infinite world that I live in. My minimalist journey isn’t just about less stuf, but also a smaller footprint so I can carry the world in my tiny pack.  Robin Hood has a mask and sward. Superman has his cape and X-ray vision. I have my Brompton and klettersack. That naked feeling of riding in my kilt reminds me of how little I need in this world, sun, nourishment and freedom.

My sweat soaked kilt gets hung on the lifelines to dry.  I tuck Brompty under the companionway steps and unpack my feast. Slathering peanut butter on a crisp green apple I smile.  I’ve fought my entire life to live the simple existence of a starving artist.

“Being an artist is like being in a bar fight.You pick up whatever you have to in the moment to stay alive. Then you go for it.” Tom Wilson

Ocean Passages For The World

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Tracing an imaginary line with my finger around the Cape Horn I get a chill in my spine.  I know Sookie has what it takes to round the horn, I think I do too, I almost have April convinced as well. The greatest test of a sailors life can happen anywhere but the southern ocean isnt graded on a curve, it’s pass or fail.  Of course there are many miles and many tests leading up to the big left turn.

  
 

Put Sookie next to any other Falmouth Cutter and you immediately notice a difference. She is bigger in every way, stout and robust, she still carries the lines and all the right curves of the fine lady she is.  With no inboard and a tall rig, she is also the fastest sailing of her 38 sisters.  I’ve been studying her rig and I really regret using stainless steel, I’m still learning. I keep her fully loaded as I can, always in cruising mode, but that doesn’t mean I don’t want her to be a high performance boat. My definition of a high performance cruising boat is one that’s unstoppable.  A boat that I can rely on to bring average daily runs of 100 miles consistently, give or take. A boat that takes as good of care of me as I do of her.

Honestly, I have no intention of rounding the horn this year but it isn’t off my list should I someday find myself in that neck of the world.  I flip through the pages studying weather patterns, currents and seasons. I should be studying up on Vancouver island but there is a new mystrsess in my life, her name is Papeete and she is patiently waiting for me.  I scan through my calendar and wonder if I can have her ready in 17 months, or perhaps a nice little boat yard  in the northern Sea of Cortez would be a better place to finish her fiddle bits.  Fish tacos and Modelo  sound like a delightful treat at the end of a long day in the boat yard, I’m done with winter…

The last item on my list is a windvane. I turn the list upside down and now it is my priority.  I promised myself when I quit smoking once and for all that I will reward my life with either a multi year Pacific voyage or a bicycle ride from the Arctic Circle to Tierra del Fuego on my little Brompton, I may just do both.  Only problem is that I have fallen a bit off the band wagon. I write a short and serious note to myself in my log  book, I read the words aloud and make a 100% commitment to myself, BANGARANG!

“It is better to fail in originality than to succeed in imitation.” 

― Herman Melville

Banff Mountian Film Festival

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My body hurled  through the air nearing terminal velocity, splitting the surface of the water with perfect form I instantly transformed from a bird to a fish, shedding my wings for gills. I broke the surface to cheers and screaming from my friends, a hand pulls my wet body over the side of the boat, endorphins are exploding.My friend asks me how I knew I could do it. I listen to my response as it comes out. Stepping off the cliff was easy, anyone can do that, the tricky part is the landing. She pushes, so how did you know you could pull of the landing. I didn’t until right now. I crack an ace cold beer, I’ve earned it.

I’ve been fasting, weaning myself off sugar, working out every day, it’s coming. I just put an ad up for film crew, sure I could take classes or go to school, but I don’t have time for that shit, why not learn first hand, in the field. I’m giving my completely failed attempt at being a documentary film maker another chance, this ship is ready to make movies.
I posted the ad, Adventure photographer wanted, safety not guaranteed. I end the post, I can almost promise you that you will live through this, if you don’t die. Putting together a ragtag motley crew isn’t an easy task nor is the project of filming from the deck of such a small boat. It’s gear time, and I’m hawking the world to document a day in the life of little Sookie. I’m sifting through emails and weeding out the flaky ones, I can always tell the posers from the hardened adventurer. I get an email. Banff Mountian film festival, my head almost explodes.  I watch the trailer, I love this shit. The natural world is a cruel one but for those of us dirt bags that feel at home in her back yard pushing the limits, she is good to us.

I start to sift through my music collection, always the first step in a new project. The music sets the tone for the entire project.  It says, this is going to be huge!  I survey my surroundings, piles of notes, drawings… I hits me maybe for the first time, I’m completly free of all obligations in the world. I’m single, debt free, I have a kick ass boat and nothing but time on my hands. I ponder it for a moment. It’s by being a completel effing failure that I have landed on this new air stip. This whole failure thing is really starting to pay off. If I can find the time I might just need to become a personal failure  coach and guru.

“Doubt kills more dreams than failure ever will.” 

― Suzy Kassem