Monday, July 18, 2011

Sailing developments

I still have mariner’s disease. Thinking about sailing a lot. It’s probably healthier than constantly watching the news.

I sail about 3 - 5 days a week. Most days it’s on our smallish lake, but it’s good practice. Yesterday it was all about sailing in light winds with power boats kicking up huge waves from all directions -while fishing. The day before, I was practicing shallow water sailing with the swing keel lifted and the rudder kicked up.

My readers gave me some decent input concerning GPS. Having a limited budget, I picked up a Garmin 72H. It’s cheap, basic, floats, and is similar to the GPS I borrowed last winter. Rather than spend all my money on a GPS with color charts, I’m spending my money on paper charts and guidebooks. There are times when a GPS is a huge help, like in darkness or fog, but mostly we navigate with charts and a compass. Electronics are nice, but I don’t want to lean too heavily on them. That being said, it is really handy to be able to get true speed from the GPS.

A solar panel would be a nice addition. The battery charges from the 6 hp outboard motor, but if there is any chance of sailing instead of using the motor, we sail. I want several ways of charging up the battery.

I’ve been doing minor things on the boat. Replaced some rivets, tightened up some hardware, improving the wiring, and have a new tiller on order. Working on bug screens and cup holders. When I haul it out in the fall, the plan is to repaint the bottom and inspect the pivot of the swing keel.

Last year for cooking I just threw an old propane stove I had on the boat. The little Oday 19 lacks a galley, but I’m working on a better way of cooking in the cockpit. I’m not a real big fan of propane on a boat. Slowly putting together some basic stores to keep on the boat at all times. Leaning towards one pot meals and one handed meals that can be eaten while actively sailing.

We are seriously thinking of doing the ICW from Virgina to Florida starting in January. Yes, VA is cold in January. However, compared to New Hampshire it’s not that bad. New Hampshirites take their shirts off to get some sun when the temperature gets to 50. The one thing we do have is cold weather gear. My ICW guide book just came in and I’ve been going over it mile by mile. I’ve a cousin in Virgina and I hope to be able to leave my truck and trailer at her place. We’d most like sail back to Virgina in middle to late April.

As much as I’m not a fan of burning gas, I’ll probably install a bigger gas tank on the boat. It might be necessary to motor in order to get through certain sections before dark. Tacking against the wind in narrow channels don’t work all that well. I will sail a narrow channel if the winds are at all favorable, but even I have limits.

Most people would be appalled at doing the ditch on such a small boat. It is small, but that can be an advantage. It can scoot under some bridges without waiting for them to be raised. With the keel up it only draws a foot, allowing for beaching and shallow anchorages. Marinas charge by the foot, and at 19 feet, we won’t mind staying at a few of them. There is no galley space, but my wife and I find it quite comfortable for sleeping. There is no substitute for a good night’s sleep.

Before then, we hope to sail Lake Champlain in Vermont. It’s the west coast of New England. I’ve friends and family in Vermont who we’d like to connect with. We’d call them when we are in their area and they could meet us at the water.

There are some big Maine lakes on our to do list and maybe the mid coast of Maine if we can squeeze it in. We had planned on going with some Maine friends, but right now I’ve begun to doubt they’ll have their boat ready in time. Those wooden hull guys spend way too much time doing maintenance.

Of course, any number of things could derail our plans. At least we have plans. It’s surprising how many of our adventures we’ve actually be able to accomplish over the years.



  1. a solar charger will keep nyour batteries charged without resorting to using precious fuel in your generator

    and you could tie up for days in some hidden cove and stll hear what is going on by your shortwave the light of an LED


  2. Wildflower: That's the idea. Using the motor is the least efficient way to charge the battery.

  3. "I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely seas and sky,
    And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by,
    And the wheel's kick and the wind's song and the white sail's shaking,
    And a grey mist on the sea's face and a grey dawn breaking."
    From Sea Fever by John Masefield

  4. Good choice on the GPS. Get those charts laminated and get some grease pencils, plus a good straight edge. The ditch guide is pretty good I hear tell, and trust me you will need it. Gets pretty damn confusing in some places, I got turned around near Freeport, TX once and couldn't find the markers. I wound up waiting for another boat to go by, then followed it. The curse of propellers and shafts and rudders, gotta stay in the ditch or it can get expensive quick...

    On propane, it's really the only way to fly. Those alcohol stoves SUCK, and "invisible" flames to me are way more hazardous than the risk of explosion. Just keep your propane cylinders in a vented locker in the cockpit. It needs a vent near the compartment's bottom to overboard as well as a vent up high.

  5. We had a picnic on Lake Arthur in western PA. It is a large lake, many miles long and there were all kinds and sizes of sail boats on it. They have a 20 HP limit on the lake so it makes it nice for canoes, kyacks, sailboats, and fishermen. Maybe I will put some pictures on my blog tomorrow.

  6. We used a "OREGO" alcohol stove on our boat for the seven years that we cruised. They are a catalytic style non-pressurized system. Alcohol is lighter than air and much safer, also water will douse the flame if anything happens.
    Propane is okay, only if everything is 100% correct. It is heavier than air and collects in the bilge, great caution is advised. You only get one mistake or failure....On the other hand Alcohol is very forgiving. Just be sure to get a modern type stove, stay away from pressurized alcohol older models.
    Ours burned with a blue visible flame unlike the older ones which are harder to see the flame. Like all things, ya get whatcha pay fer

  7. I've got a couple interesting stove ideas. Might be a blog post in on its own.
    Waiting for some stuff come in the mail.