Thursday, April 23, 2009

A varnishing adventure

  The cabin sides were my first vertical varnishing venture. I varnished  the tongue and groove for our cabin top in the summer while the wood was all laying flat. I must say it spoiled me and falsely led me to believe that varnishing, in spite of what I'd heard, was no big deal.

   Vertical varnishing in 32 degree weather is something I do not recommend undertaking. You must keep in my mind, while you read about my debacle, that I am a novice and had no idea what I was doing.

  Thinking that reading the can was about all I needed to know to tackle the cabin sides, especially after my successful tongue and groove experience, I commenced. The can told me that thinning wasn't recommended so I skipped that along with taking notice of how cold it was. I put on a coat and it looked great. I returned the next day and there were runs all over. I figured I would have to stay and brush it out once after I coated it, so I did it again. Needless to say it was the same the next day. I wish I could tell you that I stopped after this, but I wanted this project finished before my hubby returned from Alaska, so the stupidity continued.
   I should have prefaced this by saying that I had put a  couple of coats of sealer on in warmer weather and that went without a hitch. I continued to roll and tip varnish that kept weeping until my husband came home.  The worst coat went on while he was in town, fortunately, so he got to take out the orbital sander and remove a few of my dripping awful coats of shame. I finally realized it was not my application process but the fact that the varnish wasn't going to dry in freezing temperatures. 
  You can scoff at me all you want, but I felt I had to lay it all out there for you. This was just one of many stupid things I have done while taking on this behemoth of a project. I must say that once it warmed up I made it look perfect. Oh alright maybe not perfect, but certainly something I could be proud of. 
  Stay tuned for my next blunder. 

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

A tribute to Ula

I wanted to post a picture of my sweet dog Ula. We lost her at the tender age of two years old to what we can only assume was Pug encephalitis. The vet's had never really seen anything like it. 

  It's going to be a huge adjustment living without her. Ula was always a surprise to people at the park because she looked like a pug baby but was really half pug and half boston terrier along with being a runt.  The thing that surprised people was her love for a frisbee. Pugs just don't chase frisbees, but Ula was a frisbee and ball loving girl. She loved to go camping and frequent the local dog park. A favorite activity of hers was to stand at the edge of the water, lake or sea, and bark and bark at the waves and ripples. I must admit I found this annoying at the time but would love to hear her barking at it now.
  Ula left behind my five year old daughter who is still coming to terms with what death means and our three year old cat Nemo who shared a special relationship with the dog. Nemo was always the first one to put Ula back in line when she was barking or misbehaving.
  We really loved you Ula bops, and miss you so much. What a wonderful addition to our family you were,  nothing will replace you in our hearts and you will be remembered forever.

Congratulations to the Blu sparrow for winning our contest.


Monday, February 16, 2009


It's give away time again. This is your chance to win the lovely earrings pictured here. All you have to do is visit my shop.Burgandy"  look at the items and tell me which product photograph is the most alluring and why. I have been working on my pictures and I need to know what you find the most appealing. Remember that it's not about your favorite piece of jewelry, although feel free to mention that if you'd like, but your favorite photograph. Don't forget to leave contact info, and good luck. The winner will be randomly chosen on Sunday, February 22nd by my lovely five year old daughter.  If you were not previously following my blog follow me now and mention it in your comment. You will get another entry to win!

Cabin sides

Here is a shot of the new cabin side clamped into position.  We had it built out of a wood called Silver Bali. There is a great company called the Kwai project that harvests unusual hardwoods from Suriname. They are working on getting their boat set up so that they can transport goods completely under sail.  As it is we ordered a freight container full of raw silver bali. We shared the load with a couple of other boat building operations to save money. We love the look of it and it is a wonderfully useful tropical hardwood.  We had the wood milled locally and were very pleased with it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Comfort cruising tips #1

Cocktail at Sunset
Originally uploaded by Thomas Hawk
Remember to befriend the folks on powerboats, they have ice!
This may seem like strange advice, but there does seem to be a divide between us sailors and the power boaters. Probably the main reason for this is that a destination that may take us a few days is simply a matter of hours for them so they are always "ahead of us".  Remember that not only are they cruisers too, but they probably enjoy the evening libations just as much as you, and they usually have ice. That's the one thing I can say most of us cruisers seem to be lacking. Those freezers just take to much power.  Offer to have them over for tapas and cocktails, they will will more than likely provide the cubes.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009


     There is so much more to creating an aesthetic cabin top than you might think. When I first saw our boat I loved the lines of the hull and the overall effect that a schooner seems to have. Jake opened my eyes to see more.

     Our cabin top originally was built of vertical planks and once pointed out to me I realized they were in fact quite unsightly and did the boat no justice whatsoever. The other thing to take into consideration is what is called the sheer. If you look at the boat from the side it is not a straight line from bow to stern, there is in fact a dip and this is called the sheer. The cabin top itself should follow the sheer of the boat to create smooth lines.  Both of these reasons along with a couple of others were enough for us to decide the cabin top had to be replaced.
  In the above picture the boat is being prepared for the construction of the new cabin top. The vertical planking that is in place allows for the shipwrights to create a template with the appropriate sheer for the boat.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Cruising tip for the galley #1

      A common and reasonable concern for all cruisers is provisioning for long passages and for the unexpected. The best tip I ever read was "there is food everywhere you go".  Ok that makes sense, unless you want to get extremely literal and we are not going to do that. So in spite of the excellent, "there is food everywhere",  I have a tidbit of advice. If you are cruising to to Mexico or central or south america and you love to cook with coconut milk as I do, then bring it with you.  Unless of course you want to make it from scratch. Um... I 'm willing to learn but for the time being I want it ready to roll.

      Now I know most of you are thinking, what in the world is she talking about, she wants me to take coconut milk to the land of coconuts, loony. Well to my great disappointment there is coconut milk to be found but it is all sweetened, the kind of awful honey colored syrupy stuff that you would use to make an umbrella drink. Now I am not condemning colorful cocktails with cute adornments, I just don't want that crap in my curry or my peanut sauce or my carrot soup, etc. 
      Had I known before I left San Diego for Cabo, I would have filled the foc'sle with cans of coconut milk. I must say it is probably fortunate I didn't know because we were surely short on space to begin with. I have recently discovered that in some asian markets they sell packets of powdered coconut milk.  They are brilliant as they don't take up nearly the amount of space as a can and weigh much less. Never mind the fact that if you are an obsessive compulsive, and fear that you might need 50 or 60 of them to get you through all of your asian cooking impulses, they are less expensive than cans and a heck of a lot easier to hide from your hubby. 

* Directions for milking a coconut can be found online.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

A clean slate

 There is something magical about a series of pictures making a process appear to have happened with the snap of a finger. The removal of our cabin top obviously didn't happen that way, but this pic says"VOILA" everything is ready to move forward now.

This was to be the start of construction, and it was a pleasure to be thinking about putting material into the boat instead of removing them. There was still a lot of preparing for the actual construction of the new top at this point though.
 The large wood beam that the ladder is leaning against is called the carlin as you can see there are carlins on both sides of the boat. These pieces of wood actually had to be pulled back into their original position before we could begin. When the cabin top was removed it was discovered that they were actually starting to move inwards and lose their integral shape. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Boat handling

 Even at 11 months old, Violet took her boat handling lessons very seriously. We were in Chemela, Mexico when this was taken and it brings back so many memories. Pictures like this remind me of why we are rebuilding this schooner with the intention of sailing all over the world on it. 

     I really believe the value of raising our child to learn practical life skills, and to allow herself to become immersed in different cultures or lifestyles, will be invaluable to her future. I am looking forward to simplifying our lives once again. To purge the unecessary nesting objects I feel inclined to absorb into my space when I am in one place for to long, to disconnect from the pace of the city and to see the stars in all their glory.
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Tagged for life

I'VE BEEN TAGGED!  Here are some random facts about me.
 I've been tagged by Jude and I'm going to continue the game.

Each blogger has to reveal 7(8 according to some) random facts about themselves.
People who are tagged have to post the rules.
At the end I have to choose 7/8 people to tag.
I then need to leave a comment for each person who has been tagged, telling them they are "it".
The "tagee" then needs to leave a comment for the person who tagged them to read your list.

1) Although I love the sea, sailing and scuba diving in particular. I hate sand. Hate it!

2) My poop smells like roses.

3) I snore and cuss like a sailor.

4) My biological mother was a nun.

5) My feet are simply enormous, a size 11.

6) My father was a famous cinematographer in his day.

7) I have recovered a body from 80 feet of water.

8) I was almost a debutante in L.A.

* Only one of these statements is not true!

G's luxury watch blog
Shine your hineysoap co.
I like pretty
Gone to the dogs

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Congratulations to Jen Consalvo for winning my give away.

Thank you everyone who participated.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Coming from Los Angeles, I always believed scarfing to be eating really quickly. For example, I scarfed down my breakfast before going to varnish the boat. When I found out we had to scarf the mast I felt unprepared. Fortunately the guys over at Jensens on Lake Union "scarfed" the mast for us.  Scarfing is the joining of another piece of wood. 

     I must say I really wimped out on the mast and had them varnish it too.  I did some sanding and paint removing on the wind tunnel that they call their dock, and while I can see that the tarp in this picture is obviously not being tousled by the wind, you can be assured that the wind , it did bite. They were able to achieve a beautiful mirror perfect finish that I have yet to achieve, so it was really worth it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

 This is a lay out our Naval architect Tad Roberts put together with us. He's up in Gabriola island outside of Nanaimo. We had the pleasure of going up there to have a meeting with him.

  Working with him has been a wonderful experience. Despite his usual yacht work he was more than happy to deal with us, the regular folk, and get this project into a visual context for us.
  As you can see we have a pilot house drawn in, but that will be one of the last items on our agenda. We have a lot of work to do before getting to that point and moving aboard takes priority.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


I am having my very first give away. If you would like to win this bracelet simply go to my etsy shop, you can see the widget to the right, and pick out your favorite item. Come back to this post and leave me a comment telling me what your favorite item was and why. Make sure you leave some kind of contact info so I can let you know you've won.

I plan on having a monthly give away so if you don't win this time you'll have another chance just check back in.
 Gentleman feel free to enter, because your lady is sure to love this. Winner will be randomly chosen on January 24th.

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