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.

22 August 2009

One cool thing about this summer is that Campbell has started to try his hand at things like rowing and steering. For a beginner, he seems to be doing really well.

20 August 2009

Coney Island Mission X

19 AUGUST 2009

CREW: Campbell Boisvert, Phineas Karambis

This voyage was quick, and ran like a well-oiled machine. With my summer vacation about to end, I wanted to seize one last chance to take a weekday sail. Coney island was less an objective than an excuse, and the choice of our new crewman, Phineas. However, owing to an unusual SSE breeze, and wonderfully calm condition, the voyages to and from were single tack, reachy affairs—fast, level, and fun. The two boys were able to spend much of the trip standing up on the rails forward of the mast.

On the island, we were pleased to see that other parties having been putting some work into our fort. We added some fasteners to the core structure, and converted the lean-to into more of an A-frame structure, using beach lumber. Next voyage I will have to bring a decent camera.

13 August 2009

Pictures from Coney Island, August 2009

So, here are two pictures taken from today's expedition on Coney Island (see log entry below). More pictures from today's journey can be seen here. For details of the expedition, see previous post.

Coney Island Missions VI, VII, VIII, and IX

This has already been the Lady's most successful season so far. My elder sons, Campbell and Oliver, have enthusiastically embraced sailing, even under less than ideal conditions. In addition to a number of bailing and maintenance trips, we have already mounted four expeditions to our preferred destination, the small and sandy Coney Island of Salem Sound. In the best tradition of the space program, these trips have been numbered.

C.I. VI consisted of a nearly perfect sail to and from the island, with a brief pause at the destination to establish a mooring. The deployment of the mooring went off without a hitch, and has since proved to be accessible at every tide. I initially envisioned placing it just outside the cove at the southeastern corner of the island, but I realized that, if the mooring was going to be accessible at low water, it would have to be so far out as to lose any benefit of being in the lee of the island. So I opted for a site on the bolder western side of the island. This is the only Coney Island trip on which no one has put ashore.

This was also our second voyage with our tender, LST-1081, in tow. A chock I installed on the port side, intended to keep the towline from fouling the rudder, traveller and other aft equipment, seems to make the boat very reluctant to tack in light air. We are contemplating various work-arounds to this problem.

C.I. VII was as fraught as C.I. VI had been smooth. On arrival at Juniper Cove, with Campbell and Oliver in tow, we found that the oars to our dinghy had been stolen. A spare pair of oars was found, at which point we realized that the oarlocks were in the other car. These irksome events set the tone for the day. Arriving on the island, we found it ridiculously hot. But we assembled our lean-to components (pre-drilled and cut back at home) in record time. A call from headquarters for a time-check-in distracted me at a critical moment, almost resulting in the loss of the 1081. But a quick swim to the LADY (on her new second mooring) followed by a speedy row, recovered the smaller boat quickly. The boys remained on the island and (much to my surprise) kept their cool. They are growing up. We arrived home to find the cove dry, and make a temporary anchorage just inside the seawall. There we found a dinghy with our missing oars inside. All's well that ends well.

C.I. VIII was a quick trip whose real purpose was just to get out on the water, as well as make a quick stop on the island to tie up some loose ends from C.I. VII. Campbell, my sole crewman, took his first stint at the helm while beating out of Juniper Cove, and then took a long nap on the new floorboards.

C.I. IX was our first really extended trip to the island this year, and the most congenial, despite glowering weather that bordered on chilly, and seas that I expected to make the boys nervous. Instead Campbell did another spot of driving, and Oliver and Jason Hedstrom busied themselves with talk and observation. The beat to the island was uneventful, though our landing was marred by a perfectly foul smell quite unlike anything I had ever encountered there before. Our lean-to remained in good condition, and the boys immediately set about adding to it, as well as constructing a low stone wall around the perimeter. During the course of the day, we finally rediscovered the site of our encampment from C.I. V. The vegetation on the island is very lush this year—probably a result of the wet summer—and the area where we had built last year, is heavily overgrown this year. However much of the patio remained in place, and the trash beacon that I first built three years ago was in there as well. The voyage home was some of the fastest sailing the LADY has done so far: a dead run with following sea. The boys enjoyed the effect of surfing that this often produced. After some swimming in the cove, it was time to go home.