On the Water and Having Fun!

It’s easy to take pictures that bring back sailing memories, but it is surprisingly hard to take sailing pictures that other people like to look at. On a boat, there are only so many perspectives to shoot from.

(When I moved this blog to WordPress.com, I also added the relevant posts from a few years’ of Facebook posts. They’re roughly in reverse chronological order. These pics do not, can not, include all the pics NOT taken, of course. For example, a month or so ago we were out on the bay and saw dolphins at the mouth of the West River, which although not unheard of is quite unusual; no pics.)

September sail
One of my favorite pics of Kala Nag – see how the clouds are sorta’ framing her?




These pics were taken by Zahn and John from their dink as they happened to be out as we (Bill, Jeff, and me) were working our way back upriver and upwind. How’s that Earth, Wind, and Fire song go, “SAILIN’ in September, ba-dee-ahh, a day to remember . . .”
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This showed up on my feed as a “Facebook memory” – ah, yes, that WAS a good nap . . . (towing floats across the Severn River for the Annapolis Boat Show)
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Thanksgiving Friday morning, having my coffee, sunlight streaming in the window, I thought about how I would use the day. Do boat projects or maintenance chores? Nah. Run errands? Nope. Make money? HA! I did what a warm, sunny winter day is created for – I went for a little boat ride! My friends John and Zahn came with me, and we just put-putted around the river. Zahn took the great photo of the pelican, which are not often seen around here. This is half a mile from where we live, just a few curves in the creek and you’re there! It was a good little boat ride, a gentle reminder that after all is said and done, damn, I’ve got it pretty good!
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Good sail today, had my boat over 5 knots most of the time and held just over 6 on a couple of tacks. I wanted the little dog from down the dock to come with me so he had to bring his mommy Nia – that’s my story and I’m sticking to it. We’ve had him out on light-air sails before and he seemed happy enough, but he didn’t enjoy today so much, maybe because when we were heeled over his little bird body slid down the seat a couple of times. Stoopid poofy-tailed dog.
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Friday afternoon I went for a good sail on my boat with my friend Bill. If he hadn’t come down, I would have continued to spend the day working on my other boat (ya, ya, I have a new Indian name: Mik Two-Boats), so I owe the sail to him.

It’s the first week of November, but the afternoon was almost summer weather. Bright, warm sunshine coming through a blue, blue sky, a few wispy white clouds being blown high over the water by good and sometimes strong wind, water swishing and gurgling past the hull . . . who couldn’t enjoy this?

We motored down the Rhode River and into the mouth of the West River, Bill at the helm while I readied the lines and sails and stowed everything below (to no avail, it would turn out: we bounced around enough to turn belowdecks into a bonafide Crapalanche.) We hoisted the main, killed the engine, raised the jib, and we were off in to the bay, heeled over and averaging 5 ½ knots OTG for the rest of the day!

On our first tack we crossed the channel and went straight to Bloody Point, adjusting our course only to go behind a southbound tug and barge (its official size rating: Big Ass.) There were a number of other sailboats out there, some of them – like the wooden-masted yawl – fun to watch under way, but only a few came close enough for their crews to exchange hello waves with us. For the most part we were just out there on the open space of the bay, moving along quite well with plenty of room to relax.

And a good sail does relax you, too. Maybe it’s just my imagination, but it sure does seem that usually on the way out to the bay conversation is a little more steady, and on the way back, after being out on the water under sail, conversation takes on an unhurried pace, more like thinking aloud punctuated with comfortable silences.

Coming back in to the marina, as we entered the fairway I put the engine into neutral, and as always only when you’re near something stationary (like pilings!) do you realize how fast you’re actually moving. It’s really not that much speed, but it is literally a boatload of momentum, and as the old saying goes, don’t approach a dock any faster than you want to hit it. We slid down the fairway, the bows and sterns of tied-up boats lining both sides, my boat closer to one side so we could turn into my slip, bow first. Uncharacteristically the engine stalled, so we were sliding down the fairway in near silence. We were slowing down, of course, but not enough to pull in to my slip without making a crunch noise with the bow. This is why you keep the engine running and in neutral: you just might need a little jab of reverse thrust. We quickly and quietly agreed on a plan: instead of hurrying to restart the engine, as we entered the slip, Bill, on the bow, grabbed the aft dock line from the first piling, passed it around the starboard shrouds, and took a half turn around the midships cleat. Before going back to the bow he handed the tail to me, reaching forward from the cockpit, and I snubbed the boat to a stop, the boat nearly perfectly in place in her home slip. All in all, nicely done. Watching us come in from his boat on Pier 3, John offered a friendly, “Show-off!”, but, as with many of my maneuvers, I can’t really claim it was intentional . . .
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Nope, there’s nothing like a good sail . . .
Sunday afternoon, and life is good . . .
. . . when you live pirate-style !

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Why, yes, actually I DO need medication!
FB comments:
Michael – And this is why you shouldn’t drink when sailing.
Zahn – He was being supervised. 🙂
Michael – you LET this happen?
Zahn – Someone had to steer!
Anne – You are a profoundly silly man. Congratulations.
Ashley – You look like you belong on the Bubba Gump. Lt. Dan, that’s it! You look like him!
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It’s raining hard today, so I’m posting this photo of a sunny sail with Zahn and John last week.
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One evening I just wanted a change of pace from the marina, so I changed my view to this.
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Here’s Rich A. coming up on me fast – aarrrrgggg!
FB comments:
Rich – Well, not so fast…but I did catch up!
Michael – Man the cannons, prepare to repel boarders!
Tania – Don’t tell me you were caught napping! He he 🙂
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This custom, one-of-a-kind paint job is designed to make her go faster . . . I told the 83 year-old marina owner, “I’ll bet you a dollar I can make you smile.” He said, “I’m always smiling, but I’ll take your dollar.” I brought him over to my boat, and he smiled, and then he shook his head, and then he walked away mumbling something about his marina is going to hell . . .
FB comments:
Matthew – looks like a fast boat : ). What bottom pain did you use?
Hans – she’d be faster IN the water…
Mik – Hans – Well, gee, now that you mention it . . .
Mik – Matthew – All Interlux. The first coat was a mix of red Micron CSC, black, and another kind of red. I called it Burgundy; someone else called it Ox Blood; a third called it Colonial Brick Red; someone else called it a travesty. The second coat was also a mix of left over paint, all Interlux, all the same kind just different colors. One part Burgundy / Ox Blood / Colonial Brick, one part Black, one part Blue. I called it Dark Shark Grey; others called it Mad Scientist Mix and Smokin’ Coal Black. Overall, mixing paint is not the best way to go, but the price ($0) was hard to beat.
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While I was cleaning her up, for a few days I “moved on up to a dee-lux apartment in the sky . . .” After I cleaned and sanded the bottom and applied a balm of soothing bottom paint, I could hear my pretty baby girl sighing with relief. And she said to me, “Oh, Daddy, you DO care about me!” I told her, “Of course I love ya, my pretty baby girl . . .”
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My baby has a bottom rash!
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On my way out of the river and into the bay, I was doing a lazy 2 knots . . .
FB comments:
Kristen – Nice! (and you use the word “lazy” because of course you could be going, oh, say, 4 knots but chose otherwise…)

I remember that sail! It started out rather lazy, slow, and with just enough wind to fill the sails. My friends on the other boat (who took the pic above) gave it up and went back in. I coasted out the river mouth and into the bay, and there the wind picked up to around 10 knots. I set the sails on a close reach, tied off the tiller, and sailed at about 4 knots across the bay. Near Bloody Point I turned her around, tied off the tiller, and sailed back, also at about 4 knots. The problem with sails like this is that they always make me want to go VOYAGING!
Hardly anyone else was out there. A nice, easy, relaxing sail . . . I took this photo (below) as we were entering the West River, “coming home.” I remember that sail!

Coming back in, I was doing FIVE-point-TWO knots . . . And no, I wasn’t on my way “home” to my marina – this boat IS my home . . .
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The light air sail a friend gave to me. The foot is just one foot and a few inches shorter than the length of my boat, but sheeted off the stern cleat and with a little air curving it out, it works nicely! Since jib sizes go by percentages (100%, 120%), we call this one my 540%!
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First on-the-water sunset of the season – it’s good to be out there on the water . . . (“It’s good to be the King”)
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A lazy Sunday afternoon sail with Bill on a perfect autumn day . . .
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. . . Suzanne exploring on my sit-on-top.

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Labor Day, lounging in the cockpit, waiting with at least another 100 boats for the local fireworks show.

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If Hans looks very relaxed and comfortable leaning against the cabin bulkhead, it’s because he’s accustomed to Vega’s — he and his wife (upper right in previous pic) recently returned from a two and a half–year Caribbean cruise aboard their Vega, Whisper.
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Had a great sail this past weekend with Hans, Kristen, Freya, Laura, and Jane. After an ill-prepared and clumsily skippered attempt at reefing the main, Hans supplied quick thinking and fast muscle to earn the day’s MVP award. A bit chilly, but good wind – by GPS we did 20 miles in 4 hours, about half under just a jib (after the reef, we still tore the main!) Yeehaaaa!

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Sometimes it is really great to have someone else on the helm so you can look around and check things out . . . (this is right after we tore the mainsail.)

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The Princess becoming a sailor . . .
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and her parents proudly look on . . .
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I took my boat out the other day, and I’m very glad I did. The wind was around 10 knots; she sailed at 4 to5 knots all afternoon with the tiller tied off. I adjusted the sails now and then, but mostly I just put my bare feet up, enjoyed a cold beverage, and watched the world go by. The sky a gorgeous blue, the trees along the shore were sharp greens, and other boats were all crisp and clear. Life can be good.
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The sunset profile would be Chris.
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If I remember correctly, this was Kala Nag heading out for her maiden voyage. There had been good wind all day, and it occurred to me that as soon as I did a few more things to the new rig, I COULD take her out. Of course, because The Gods love to toy with me, as we were heading out the good wind died. But we did get her under sail . . . even though we maxed at only 1 knot, dammit, she be sailin’!