Monday, May 31, 2010

Memorial Day

Remember our service men and women.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Five Days - Awesome Sailing

SILENT MAID is on the loose. Left Philly in 85 degrees under the ISM burgee. motored most of the way down river with Charles & Joan Bernstein added to the crew. Sailed into Cohansey Creek to a hot buggy marsh, some of the best kept secrets in the state. The tide runs fast in Cohansey but we tied up at Hancock's Harbor with no difficulty. Bill & Kate Thompson hosted us royally for a great porch supper, picking us up and then running us back to the boat. Peter Thompson came over and we got a peek at his John Brady designed shad boat. I've always been a sucker for shad boats. Back at the dock, we rigged mosquito nets for the night and since we had shore power, slept with the box fan on. Thankfully it had been left on the boat by the dock crew. Bright and Early we we up for showers and shopping at the local emporium of everything.
Cooled down somewhat overnight and we were on our way. The refrigerator is now working, the bilge pumps are working, and the stereo is working but not much wind. We motored across the bay and set sail off the Morris River. The parrel bead line broke and set the saddle free tearing out the first grommet at the throat. The breeze picked up significantly. The electric winches were tried and they worked. I was steering and couldn't see the foredeck. At first, I thought something awful was happening until I realized it was the winches making that noise. We did a man overboard drill. The Williamson turn was executed. The hat was recovered. We dropped sail and motored to Chuck & Hilary Prichard's dock in Cape May. We enjoyed a great dinner with them and their friends and family.
We left Cape May early early morning via canal into the Atlantic. I was beset by the third day gollywobbles and spent a couple hours prone on the cockpit sole. I did get to sail both a bit before and for a long while after. Ran the Atlantic City inlet under sail with a following sea swell that was an adventure in surfing.
MAID actually will surf for a bit if the waves are big enough, her acceleration is quite noticeable. The steering pattern was strikingly similar to URCHINs up and down hill runs, but the period was longer, took a couple of sets to get comfortable. We jogged up the marsh mark to mark behind the dunes. I was having a glorious time steering and was just about to say so when...
You know the part of Riddle of the Sands where Davies is sounding out the edge of the channel with his oar. John had entreated me to stay right on the channel markers. I gently found the edge of the sand with the boat and she stuck. John hopped off and pushed the bow around, off we sailed ...
to find the other opposite edge of the channel. Now I know exactly how wide it is right there. (Not very) John and Pete gallantly jumped in again to push (MAID weighs in at seven tons) and they turned us around again. The wind was still kicking and we ran off the rest of the miles, jibing through the marsh channels.
Jibing with a boat this big is quite a challenge. She
has running backstays, one eased out, the other hauled tight and belayed, about a mile of mainsheet at 12:1 and she definitely has a bit of helm at this point. I tended to oversteer on recovery by not correcting soon enough. This was gently explained to me by my mentors. I am so thankful for their kindness and endurance.
Dinner and a dockspace at LEHYC are provided by John Coyle and his wife, who vindicated my point to point steering
by saying that everyone runs aground in that spot as the channel has shifted-local knowledge will out. Our overnight berths and showers were offered by Greenwelds and Coyles. The hospitality all along this leg of the trip has been wonderful. Tom gave us a diner style breakfast at the counter with quips and stories while we watched the chef in action. It was raining while we ate. Back at the boat, the rain quit and we were off sailing up the bay under cloudy skies. Later the sun popped out and we ducked into Tom's River for fuel and water. Bill DeRouville comes over in his yard boat and Sherrie catches us on film. Check out her FACEBOOK posts. Continued up bay, the bridge opened for us quickly and politely and we set sail again. The foredeck crew got lots of workouts that day.
Our last host on this trip was MAIDs owner. I went shopping for food, planned and cooked
dinner, a barbecue, while the guys unloaded the boat and put her in his slip. We were treated to showers and wonderful rooms. An open house, theirs was full of hospitality.
MYTH arrived and took another slip out front. We were treated to a delightful sail and lunch on her the next day (a most excellent potatoe soup). MYTH was built by Timo during his tenure at
ISM and is a copy of an old NJ catboat that is in the collection. She is a bear to steer. I was on mainsheet while our most experienced skipper ran down a narrow channel like a wild sleigh ride. MYTH has a tendency to roll down wind, and the holiday traffic was making lots of waves enhancing that tendency. I have some pictures from that sail I'll put in another post.Our transit ended Sunday by bringing the MYTH and SILENT MAID up to join BARNEGAT for a bow tie party at BHYC.
We left via helicopter back to Philly. I will miss SILENT MAID and my shipmates as they sail on to NYC next.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Nina and Pinta

There are two replica ships at the ISM dock this week. Too bad it is not Columbus day. Got a tour of the galley on NINA. Better than SILENT MAID in some ways, but I have more head room than Betsy, NINAs cook.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Bon Voyage

Toast to the volunteers and crew whom have readied the beautiful girl for her trip North. She is in the water, rigged and floating, awaiting her gaff saddle and newly recut cruising sail. View her blog So many tasks complete and jobs completed. A few left in various stages of almost done. One tired and cheerful group. MARION got a wonderful beautiful coat of paint by yet another new volunteer yesterday.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Bow Ties Everywhere

Friday, May 21, 2010

She Floats!

SILENT MAID is back in the water at the dock at Penn's Landing. Bow ties and "Biggie Boat" go on shirts tonight. Yesterday, Josiah got to see the catboat move out of the shop with MiGi. He wanted to put his boat in the "bath" too.

Boat Moving

Lots of boat is moving. This looks more like ballet d'boat more than boat yoga. Check out the fancy footwork. Ooh, Ahh, the varnish is blinding. Nice work Caroline.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Leaving Takes so Long

The shop has been totally rearranged. Carolyn is still varnishing. The sink is still in construction to go-fast plates have been worked on and countless other tasks have been accomplished. TORCH is stashed. Marion is moved. Menus arranged, t-shirts, paint, and wingnuts ordered, stuff moved, lost, found, moved again. Trailers and dollies positioned and loaded. Boxes unpacked, items checked off the list, SILENT MAID sure has a lot of stuff.
Leaving tomorrow when Henry arrives with big tex, the large trailer.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sinking, but Not the Kind You May Think

SILENT MAIDs sink is coming along. Had some great conversations with visitors to the museum today. One couple from Toronto area was really interested in the boats forms and designer and the kind of epoxy we like. Of course, I can talk about epoxy fillers all day long. Did not have time to visit Centerton bridge to see progress today.
Finished the speed panels and they fit.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Speed Panels

Spent today laying up parts for the sink and working on the speed panels to cover the propeller opening in the skeg. They were surfaced and are now ready for final sanding and paint. Ive worked out two different ways to attach them.

Friday, May 14, 2010


Had a wonderful afternoon painting Bay Head, NJ on the transom of SILENT MAID. Now she is official and does not need to carry those awful NJ or PA registration stickers and #s. Taped up spacing, transferred and redrew letters, painted in, Caroline came back and sanded and varnished over. The video is the new waterline and boot stripe. Very Nice!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Class Boatbuilding Exhibit Presentations

and general goings on in the shop. Got Ned on the road with one rigged catboat. Bon Voyage CATNIP, even if I can't go sailing with you.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Tuckups and More

A veritable forest.

Monday nite woodworking class at the seaport. Certainly keeps one a'hoppin. The men got one tuckup rolled and painted, two masts tapered and assembled (not glued yet. Three more staves cut, Four wheels a ' rollin' on the power feeder, at least five hours spent by Ned on one CATNIP mast, Mike sanded his, Pete and Bill cut tapers, Steve and I painted chocolate & cream. Paul ran the green monster machine and Ed assisted Ned.
Sunday afternoon TSCA workers are invited to a SILENT MAID going away party. Email me for particulars. I need a head count.
Steve has created a tuckup website here for those interested in these beautiful sweet tippy fun boats.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Breakers on the Beach

It is so windy today there were breakers on the beach at the dragon. dead low. That is unusual for the Delaware River. Only tugs (my favorite) make waves like this. The Burlington buoy data shows gusts over 40 kts. yesterday afternoon and up to 30 today. URCHINs cover was still on; Max & I drained his Comet which had collected some water.
Stopped at Centerton Bridge today to check progress. No asphalt yet, decking still being repaired. Tide coming in; 'most high. There were combers coming up the creek with white tails behind. Makes you think about the power of water. Standing on the grating watching the roiling beneath my feet gives me the willie-wallies when I watch.
The poison ivy by the road is huge this week taller than I am, and luscious green. I long to be sailing, away from the ichy stuff.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Sink Progress

Finished laminating all the flat components of the sink for SILENT MAID. Working on detailing, fillets, and finish sanding on the bowl. The backboard will be cut and constructed from the flat panels. Hope to be done this week.

The Core Sound has become a workbench again. Her wide flat bottom is great for laying out carbon fiber panels and pulling threads so I can cut straight.

This solitary work is a refinement on the emotional life. Leaves a lot of time for reflection. Speaking of... Had a lovely row up to red 40 by the Burlington power station and back down to the red buoy off Neshaminy Creek and back to the dragon. 'Course the sun went down leaving the quiet water the most marvelous colors. Pete (in his golden eye 17' kayak) wears a head lamp fore & aft, I have a battery anchor light that stands on URCHINs centerboard case down inside the boat and lights my white shirt from the back. We stay well over to the shallow side away from the channel.

Here is URCHIN on her bridle being hoisted back on to her trailer after coming up the railway.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

MiGi Boat

Sailed balloon boats with Yayah today. Then we let caterpillars walk on us and tickle with their little feet.Very fun.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Back on Track

Sail track that is, for SILENT MAID. Core Sound transom sanded, ready for varnish.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Getting Close


Monday, May 3, 2010

Night River

Liquid gold and bronze, motion between long swells, state line to escape the skeeters, rhythm pull and back, dip and pull, pull and back, long straight track with small vortices at every step, gloaming fades, night lights appear, new range light blinking frantically, great heron glides by. URCHIN girl sweetness.

Got one side of the Core Sound sanded, ready for primer.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Sink Bee Bridge

Visited Centerton Bridge again today to check on progress. A dad and two sons were taking their opportunity to fish for bass off the span. Usually it is too busy with traffic. We walked across, the geese had failed and given up nesting. Too much goings on likely. Low tide this time provided a look at creek bottom topography. Bits which had been removed showed a lot of metal corrosion. Interesting that there are two layers of the Armco guardrail. I would think that it would deform less and transmit more of an impact to the bridge structure. Love bridges. Inventoried the greenery on the upper banks & roadside. Amazing how many invasive species there are. Poison Ivy, Catbrier, Virginia creeper, English Ivy, running bamboo, crown vetch, etc. Opening this bridge requires 8 hours prior arrangement.

Created a panel for the sink toady at the shop and paid rent-mowed the front. The grass is growing like gangbusters now. Got two bee stings today. One is swelling my eye. Read some more very funny pieces in Flotsam and Jetsom. Laughing is so good for the soul. Specially when it involves boats. Next on the reading list Bailey White.

Saturday, May 1, 2010


Here is the first pull from the sink mold. Nice and flat, two layers in carbon fiber.