19 July 2010

First Sails of the Year: Cat Cove Missions I & II

Friday and Saturday of last week featured the first LADY expeditions of 2010 proper.  Launched the preceding Sunday (11 July), along with her tender, LST 1081, most activity between Monday and Thursday consisted of bailing.  Indeed, the LADY is leaking more than usual this year, perhaps because of less aggressive pre-launch soaking.  Alternatively, it is possible that, in the five years since her original refit, the calking we installed at that time is due to be replaced.
Rigging took place on Thursday (7/15) afternoon and evening, but there was no time for a shakedown sail until Friday.  This was a successful run in its own right, but also the first of series of projected short voyages around the backside of Winter Island, into Cat Cove.  This sail was marred only by the unusually large amount of water taken on during the trip.  Time will tell if this remains a problem.
Saturday’s sail was largely unpremeditated and (in the event) abortive.  The next voyage is planned for tomorrow, Tuesday 20 July.

11 July 2010

Launch Day!

Very Exciting and (I think) a week or two earlier than last year.  LADY was launched at approximately 11 am, and immediately tried to convert herself into a U-Boat.  Decks were awash in a matter of minutes, and only her woodenness kept her afloat.  Later in the afternoon, about an hour and a half below high-tide, a party was sent to board the LADY and bail her, but was surprised to find her already sitting in the mud, and mostly drained—presumably in the same way she had filled, i.e. directly through the hull.

Plans to rig her up have been set for Thursday.  The mast is still awaiting a fresh coat of paint, and the sail has been in for alterations, and will be picked up then. .  Other changes in store for this season include a lazaret, and possibly sailing with Cathy.  Woohoo!  Will post photos soon.

12 June 2010

Adventures on Land

Most people who own boats have probably already made some pretty concrete plans about getting them in the water.  Over in Marblehead, the racing season is already well under way, and all the local harbors have filled right up with boats.  But as a schoolteacher and a poor multitasker, I can't get warmed up on the boat thing, until the school year is at an end—and that is still a few days off.
But the last few days have brought some interesting reminders to bear.  About a week ago, up in Gloucester, I saw a friend's Burgess design (ashore, which I found reassuring), the Bluenose.  A very pretty racing sloop, I can never remember the name of the class.
Then today, while driving through Marblehead, past Redd's Pond Boatworks,  I saw another Brutal Beast—one of the Lady's eight sisters from 1985.  At first I thought it might be the same beast that I saw being restored in Marblehead last summer, but Thad Danielson of RPB doesn't think so.  He was intimately acquainted with the history of that particular BB, and knew the whole story of how they came to be built, neglected and then sold.  He gave me the name of the owner, and who knows?  Maybe that will lead to a gam or a regatta.  Thad also let it be known that he has the plans to the Beast Class and can build them to order.
On returning home, it was time for spring foray into the interwebs for new information about Beasts or their designer, Starling Burgess. I was surprised to find that, according to online sources, Starling Burgess's most famous sailboat design, the J-Class Rainbow, is being rebuilt.  Besides the social commentary this might inspire (J-Boats were abandoned after World War II, as too expensive for even the super-rich to deal with; what does it say that we can rebuild them now?), it is a very  exciting news for fans of yacht racing history.  Rainbow was reputed to be the greatest J-Boat ever built, and if you have never seen a J, then there is no way I can describe how awe-inspiring they are. [Here is a link to the New Rainbow's homepage.]
So that's the armchair/laptop news for this spring.  Maybe tomorrow I can vacuum out the Lady, and slap some oil on her interior, and do some other tinkering.  And soon, I hope to be posting updates from our adventures on the water.

06 September 2009

Grown Ups Go Sailing: Coney Island Mission XI

Took my brother-in-law out for a sail yesterday, which started kind of airless and lumpy, but ended up being fast and exciting. Without really planning to, we ended up in the neighborhood of Coney Island (I swear the boat would just drift there on her own, if set loose), where Marc expressed a desire to go ashore. Now that September is here, the birds are already less territorial, which allowed us to access the higher eastern shore of the island.

I was looking for the USCGS marker we found here last fall, but without any luck. However, did find the rather odd inscription pictured here: LNNRT, in letters that seem to have been made out of rather sandy concrete. The remains of other, illegible, letters were nearby. Here you see a picture of the LADY taken from the approximate spot where the letters were found, and a picture of the letters themselves.

Our lean-to remains in remarkable condition, as do our stone walls. We are hoping to return soon to begin buttoning the site up for the winter.

Sister Ship to the Lady found in Marblehead

While driving down Rockaway Ave in Marblehead on Friday, I stumbled across this Brutal Beast sitting on a trailer. This is not only the first Brutal Beast in our immediate neighborhood that I have seen (outside a a museum) but closer inspection indicates that she comes from the same generation of Brutal Beasts as the LADY. According to the serial number incised into her transom, she was built at Pert Lowell in Newbury in 1985, and has the hull/sail no 107.

These pictures, which were taken with my phone (which I didn't realize had been set to Black and White) don't capture much of the detail of #107's restoration, which appears to be pretty far along. Additional ribbing (bent oak?) has been added in between the main ribs, and the forward thwart has been removed, but that may be only temporary. 107 looks like she is still a few months away from going the water, but we hope to run into her at sea next year.

28 August 2009

"Now is the time for being watchful..."

One of my favorite children's books of all time is Time of Wonder by Robert McCloskey which is the third and most poetic of the three picture books about his children, Sal and Jane. Towards the end it features a hurricane, the approach of which is marvelously described, with the oracular statements of the old Mainers with names like Clyde Snowman, making statements such as "We're a gonna have some weather," and "She's a gonna blow," and (most fragmentarily) "...with the next shift of the tide," but he also captures in words and pictures the telling details of the feel in the air, and the uncharacteristic behavior of birds as a tropical storm approaches.

Anyway, we have a storm bearing down on us for the weekend, which will bring a whole mess of rain, but probably not much else. Enough rain is expected, though, to put the LADY onto a kind of lockdown status. The family signal will be taken down, and all loose objects will be brought ashore, from the tackle box all the way up to the rudder. But the season isn't over yet. Here is looking forward to some good sailing in the coming week.

24 August 2009

Classic Wooden Boat Parade

Here is Oliver steering the Lady for the first time. In the background can be seen our tender, LST-1081. We were on our way to see the parade of sail that marks the conclusion of the 27th Annual Antique and Classic Wooden Boat show. The parade itself was not that much of a spectacle, sadly, although there were a couple of lovely catboats that we saw in the distance. This sail marked our first voyage since the 2009 shakedown that did not take us to Coney Island. It was also our first trip up into Salem harbor for a couple of years.

Eventually Oliver fell asleep, and Campbell did too. We (I) had a lovely sail back to the cove, followed by some shore time at uncle Campbell's house.