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Thread: J. Dillon, 11 years on a 27 footer, WOW!!!

  1. #71
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    keep it coming....!
    Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!

  2. #72
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    Thanks JD
    Great stuff
    Do write a book !

    Lannig
    www.mavourneen-mary.com

  3. #73
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    Jack, I especially need my nightly fix tonight.

  4. #74
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    still enjoying it......just a comment about the stainless steel "deterrent" line on the rotator for sharks....I posted a similar incident elsewhere about such an incident.....didja ketch the shark?
    Wakan Tanka Kici Un
    ..a bad day sailing is a heckuva lot better than the best day at work.....
    Fighting Illegal immigration since 1492....
    Live your life so that whenever you lose, you're ahead."
    "If you live life right, death is a joke as far as fear is concerned."

  5. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hwyl View Post
    Jack, I especially need my nightly fix tonight.
    LOL, me too.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

  6. #76
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    Larry cranked me up the mast to check out things, wires, fittings etc. A new bulb now rested in the mast head light.. I had the Avon life raft under canvas cover and securely lashed down forward of the mast. It had its own thru deck eye bolts to tie the lashings to. I provisioned up the boat with lots of canned goods and extra water bottles, topped off the tanks fuel & water but held back on the fresh provisions. That would come on July 5th a few day later.

    But first a diversion... The date was July 4, 1986. I agreed to crew for my friend Bill to help him take his 36' ketch with charter party to the Relighting of the Statue of Liberty and Operation sail. We left from City Island, NY. The East river was crowded with many boats. All bound for the big lady. At first Local CG auxiliary vessels kept things under control. But as they converged in the East River it changed to every man for him self . It worked out OK and there were no accidents. Some of the smaller tall ships were in the traffic as they had anchored in shallower waters near by. The skyscrapers towered over all as we approached the end of Manhattan. We slid by Governors Island to see the USS Kennedy and other Naval vessels, numerous police, USCG and auxiliary boats mingled thru the crowded harbor. It soon became apparent we would not get too close to this spectacular parade of tall ships. The best spots were taken and government water craft kept the mass of boats well away from the channel, but part of the fun was just to be there. Like the guy way back in the bleachers during a world series game . The energy of the event was enough. All aboard enjoyed this once in a lifetime happening, especially the evening fire works. Our anchor was down in 7' of water just to the SSE of the Green Lady. It was quite crowded. At the change of tide during slack water boats swung in every direction. It was uncontrolled and comical as vessels swung close, some bows to sterns, exchanged drinks and greetings. All had crew attend to friendly fending off with hands, boat hooks. Some boaters had cans in one hand and fending with the other.. Everybody kept their head and enjoyed the camaraderie the slack water generated. The wind and water flow settled down along with boats and spectators. as the darkness enveloped the scene. Mere words cannot describe the fire works. The Lady’s lighted torch made this event different. Right after the last rocket dimmed out, engines roared to life, and anchors weighed. Many leaving for home ports. There was a confusion of navigation lights going this way and that amid the many blinking lights emanating from the myriad of harbor buoys. Next day we weighed anchor for City Island. I never told Bill of my intention of sailing for Bermuda in a few days as he would think I was crazy.





    Back to the present...

    The departure for Bermuda

    07/07/86 06:58 Sunny. After a hearty breakfast and one more check of the engine’s oil stick I cranked her up and with no fan fare cast off for Bermuda. The previous day I fully provisioned and notified the dock master I would be gone for a month or so to give him a chance to rent my slip to transients. I told family and a few friends of my intentions and that I’d call when in Bermuda. When clear of the Stamford breakwater I raised main and stay sail . This portion of the passage was to be motor sailing. It was imperative to get to the East River with a favorable current . I previously worked out the data to favor me all the way to Ambrose Light Tower. Underpowered “Shaula” could never cope with contrary currents the East River can generate. I devoured an already made sandwich under the Whitestone bridge. By 12:00 I was under the Triborough Bridge. And ominous Hellgate just ahead. There still wasn’t much wind as I slid thru the boil and swirls of this infamous site. It would not be so easy on my return weeks later In fact it would be downright harrowing and threatening. As I passed Pier 17 I saw a tall ship berthed there and on the opposite shore, in Brooklyn, the USS Iowa. Many vessels lingered at various slips, the sailors enjoying liberty in NYC.

    Pier 17 East river NYC

    Notice all the square riggers on both sides of the Bark. Just like in the old 19th century days. If you look real close there’s just a hint of the World Trade Center, appearing as a shade in the blue sky over the mizzen mast of the barque.

    To be continued
    Next at sea alone

    JD
    PS writing is not easy

    __________________________________________________ ____________________________
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 02-24-2007 at 11:33 PM. Reason: addition to text
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  7. #77
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    You're good at it, and the fact that it's hard is the reason so few people do it. Please keep it up.

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    Damn, I just devoured this thread in no time at all! Great writing, and story!!
    Mark Delbrueck
    Canon Equipment
    http://www.MarkDelbrueck.com

  9. #79
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    Exellent reading while I have my morning cup of coffee looking at the 4' snow drifts in the yard and fields.

    Thanks very much JD.

    Dale
    \"The strength of a man is not measured on what he must have, it\'s measured on what he can do without\"

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    I read the last installment yesterday. Please sir, can I have some more?
    Pet photography, the degree you get when you fail aromatherapy - Duck D.

  11. #81
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    Mr. Dillon certainly writes well. I am glad to be here.

  12. #82
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    Just found your thread. I love it. thank you, thank you.

  13. #83
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    Thanks all. I sincerely appreciate the complimentary remarks. It helps keep me diving into my memory, digging it up, and posting here for all to enjoy. Chuck, no sharks either on land or sea but some curious porpoise.

    Thanks again and back to the key board for another episode today.
    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    07/06/86 14:39 My log book reads, “Streamed the taffrail log at buoy # 3 Ambrose channel, raised the jib and secured the engine, course 150 M.. Log reading 24. 1. Hot & humid wind SW at 4 kts”. I already had the main and stay sail up. Traffic in NY harbor is always busy and getting clear of it all, I had kept the engine on to maintain hull speed. Before the venture started I laid out the rhumb line all the way to Bermuda on a series of position plotting sheets. My scheme was to keep as close to this line as possible and plot my position obtained by whatever means available. I took a 17:50 sun sight.

    Position plotting sheet 1

    You’ll notice the diagonal dark rhumb line marked 137.7o T. from Ambrose Light Tower. I
    intended to keep close to this line The tower is marked in and the rhumb line from it. The loran 17:30 plot. is also marked .The sun LOP determined at 17:50 is drawn in and comes about 1 mile from the loran plot I also used a more sophisticated plotting sheet printed by the Defense mapping agency # 970 when I neared Bermuda. Also on the sheet you will see the shipping lanes marked in. This was to alert me when I might be sighting some more heavy tonnage traffic Of course NY Harbor has many ships from containers, oil tankers , cruise, military ship in and out at all hours. By 20:00 the sun appeared as a golden ball setting in the haze to the west. The sea quiet .A few boats around and what looked like three yawls, one behind the other, turning more to the south. I suspected they were from the US Naval Academy as I had seen them on the forth participating in the Relighting ceremony & Op sail.
    Ambrose blinked as I sat in the cockpit in the dark alone and finished up a shepherds pie my “transition lady” Janet made for me a couple of days ago.

    Transition person and embarrassing moments

    What’s a “transition lady” you may ask Or should it be “transition person”? Either will work This term could be applied to either gender. Def: An individual of opposite gender (usually) that is just a little down the road in navigating the divorce world and who takes you by the hand and helps you in the transition to the singles world. Janet was a gem eager for experimenting and trying new things and new life styles . She was deeply into meditation and the “New age” You both know instinctively that it will not be an permanent relationship. This freed things up a bit. One winter day we were meandering in a book shop in NYC. New age stuff dominated the shelves. We wandered down different aisles. My eye caught a book , “Karma Sutra”. I heard about it and was soon leafing the pages. “Art”. Wow! I spotted Janet down the isle and with book by my side and finger holding a particular page I crept up behind. Her brown hair draped over her shoulder and just touched her tan coat. She was deep into a book. I took the Karma Sutra from my side, opened the page, thrust it in front of her and said into her ear. “How would you like to try that position?” She turned. I felt darting eyes thrusting daggers into mine. It wasn’t Janet. From astern she fit the description exactly. I mumbled something like “Excuse me, sorry, I thought you were some one else”. I beat a hasty retreat out of the store before her boy friend or husband came after me. Later Janet and I had a good laugh . Now about that position?

    The radar alarm went off. I was being scanned and jolted from this pleasant memory.
    I took the radar detector into the cockpit and scanned the darkness with it. There wasn’t a light to be seen anywhere but the detector null said there was a vessel off the port bow. I got out the binoculars and looked in that direction. Sure enough I saw the lights indicating an inbound ship. Only the port side showed amid widely separated white lights. There was no danger of collision. I had tried the detector before but now it was really my lookout. I felt relieved. I adjusted the auto helm in the now 5kt SW wind, then flicked on “Not under command lights”, and went to sleep..

    To be continued Bats and more memories

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  15. #85
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    'Not under command lights'... which ones are those and would they be used by anyone other than a singlehander? When the rudder is adrift or engine out, for example?
    "It's a pirate's life for me. Savvy??"

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    Last edited by clancy; 08-28-2010 at 10:51 PM. Reason: Fixed broken link

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    It wasn’t Janet.
    Classic!!! That's the kinda goober move that only us younger guys are supposed to pull.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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  19. #89
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    Thanks Clancy for posting that . it saves a some explanation on my part.

    Paul, There's no fool like an old fool. Age has no bearing on dumb mistakes.

    07/08/86 01:00 Ship’s Log Book reads “Radar detector sounded, altered course to avoid motor vessel sighted off Stb bow. Came back to 150 mag at 01:40, taffrail log reads 72.8 . It was reassuring that my electronic lookout was working and made turning in easier. July eighth.... July eighth... Why does that date dwell in my mind? Back to sleep...... Up at 03:11 to answer nature’s call. Loran fix at 39o 48 19 N 73o12 12 W. Wind by estimate SW at 10 kts. Taffrail 87.6. Boat moving nicely in an easy sea.. Sleep? Back again to try, thinking, well, getting up periodically is guaranteed at 56 at least for me, an enlarging prostate is an built in wake up call. Maybe a blessing for this passage, but ashore a curse. Even with the auto helm steering, a course to Bermuda is not guaranteed. It will blindly follow wind shifts and when I again woke at 07:15, I was heading back to NY! I don’t think I put many miles in the wrong direction. The wind was now from the NW. I went out on deck, eased sheets and got her going SE before a 10 Kt. wind. My jib in these conditions was useless so I took it in, bagged it, and lashed it to the fore deck. Took a 07:59 sun sight. The work sheet shown might be of interest to some here. When plotted, the sun LOP was about 4 NM from the Loran fix. which was about 10 miles from the rhumb line.





    The Bat & Bats

    The sun was high enough to take a look around. A movement on the port side near the shrouds caught my eye. It was grey and struggled a bit. Another rat I thought? Then it became clear. Somehow a bat had became entangled in the now slack jib sheets. I moved a bit closer and it seemed enraged. With mouth and wings opened it threatened any closer movement on my part. It was a stand off, but I could not tolerate sharing a jib sheet with him for the rest of the passage. Someone had to go and it wasn’t me. Who knows what malady he might be carrying. I flicked the jib sheet a few times hoping a catapult launch would get him airborne back to shore many miles away. Sadly, he landed in my wake to be seen no more. It got me thinking. I’ve seen lots of birds land on seagoing ships and boats . They get storm blown out to sea and land at the first solid looking surface. But a bat on my boat? Come to think of it in my stern light glow I had seen bugs flitting around and maybe a moth or two the previous evening. This attracted the bat I assume, but how he got to my port shrouds and entwined in a jib sheet God only knows. I had seen bats at sea back in my Navy days aboard the USS Coral Sea . We were heading for the Med a few days out of Norfolk, Va . My hangout was on the fantail when not on duty. The aviation engine shop was near there in hanger bay 4. At dusk you’d see a bunch of bats flying around. I don’t know why but there they were flitting here and there looking for a meal as the ship was underway doing 25kts bound for the Straights of Gibraltar. on July 8th.. JULY 8th 1948. Now I remember, that’s the day I signed up in the US Navy 38 years ago today, attracted by the recruit posters with enticing words like FUN, TRAVEL, ADVENTURE. Yes, I remember my first real sailing experience...

    Next yachting in the Med and wooden boat building aboard an aircraft carrier.


    JD

    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  20. #90
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    Excellent thread!!

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    Next yachting in the Med and wooden boat building aboard an aircraft carrier.
    Another great hook. Really enjoy the photos too, and the artwork. Mr. Dillon your a man of many talents.
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Back in time now.......1950..... darkness..... pumping a bilge aboard a sailing whale boat, her painter secured to a boat boom jutting out from the port quarter of anchored aircraft carrier. It was 02:00. Definitely slowing down. Forty strokes at midnight. Twenty eight strokes now, and the pump is sucking air. What a day. I’m still excited. Did it really happen to me, a thrilling rail down beat through the azure blue Mediterranean with the sun hovering over the green hills of Sardina? Just like in the boating magazines. Overhead the steady hum of carrier’s machinery and water oozing back into the bilge brings me back to reality- clearing the pump of debris. While waiting for a sizeable amount of water to pump, I thought back to how it started on board the USS Coral Sea fitting out for a Mediterranean deployment. Curiosity was aroused amongst my shipmates and myself as to why in Hanger Bay 4, lashed down amongst lethal jet air craft, there was a humble wooden sailboat. Our questions went unanswered until a week at sea. In the “Plan of the day” was a small note. “All those interested in forming a boat club meet in the ship’s library at 19:30". That was all I needed . A group of men were at the table reading and writing letters when I arrived at the library. In the corner were two expectant faces. I deduced them to be my fellow “yachtsmen”. On inquiring, I found them to be Don & Chuck, and just as puzzled as I was.

    Prelude to Fun

    In a few minutes an officer arrived and introduced himself as “Commander Stanley”, our new supply officer. He outlined his plans. The 32' ketch rigged whale boat was to be the nucleus of our club with the addition of some 11' penguin class cat boats in kit form when our membership grew. He was to be the officer representative. With other members we were to elect Commodore and vice commodore. He also pointed out that the boat needed a great deal of work. That was my first prelude to the “fun of boating”. Don and I did a survey on the condition of the boat and all the materials necessary to make her “Bristol Fashion” again. The hull appeared sound but needed the usual re-caulking, sanding and painting on a boat long out of her element. Being young, enthusiastic, and persevering, we somehow managed to turn out a reasonable shipshape job for a group of amateurs. The varnished gunwales gleamed over the smooth business-like grey topsides. The sails were mended and new sheets rove through reconditioned blocks. On September 19th, 1950, the carrier passed through the straits of Gibraltar and three days later dropped the hook in Aranci Bay, Sardinia. The bay was surrounded by rolling green hills that rose abruptly from the indigo sea. The water was so clear you could see fish playing around the ship’s anchor chain.

    At 16:00 members of the boat club were to put the ketch over via the flight deck crane. Uniform of the day was undress whites. Suddenly the club doubled its membership with four new recruits.

    With an audience

    With the skipper at the tiller and all six oars manned, we blundered about a quarter mile to leeward of the ship to commence the comedy for the ship company manning the rails. After fumbling with the oars at Commander Stanley’s order, “Boat oars!” we managed to bring them in with no more to-do than knocking off the skippers cap, which was met with a great roar from the ship. Now the muddle called the rig in the center of our craft was to be tackled. The theory was to place the mast fore and aft across the thwarts and position a hinged device on top of its opposite member on the thwart. When this lined up, a pin was to be inserted in the hinge effectively connecting the mast to the seat at which time two crew members were to raise the stick. This went surprisingly smoothly considering some of us were frantically bailing and not caring which way the water flew. Amid our own confusion the Commander stood calmly by, patient and paternal, over-seeing this uniformed chaos, knowing full well that Navy tradition would prevail in the end. The excitement continued but we were more serious now seeing that we were making progress and the long worked for sail was soon to begin. Feverishly the main was bent on with not too much profanity. Somehow we were functioning as a team. At last the sails climbed the mast.

    Glorious moment

    The evening breeze held steady at about ten knots sending crackling ripples through our luffing canvas. The ship was far off now but we could still hear our cheering section. Commander Stanley
    lowered the centerboard, ordered the jib backed, the helm up, the sheets trimmed and slid off on the port tack. Those first glorious moments under sail one never forgets. That lovely ketch was anxious to go, to prove herself after such a long exile in some forgotten naval boat yard. Like new life breathed into her she came alive and leaned down to her business: sailing. She was giving her greenhorn crew its first rail down breeze. Bubbling water 5" away passing at 6 knots,
    spray gently hitting you in the face gives a sailor a sense of intimacy with the sea that a 45' high flight deck steaming at 30 plus knots can never do. Her gleaming gunwale inched closer to the hissing foaming Mediterranean as our freeboard diminished. The added strain of our wind stressed hull accelerated the leak. We could afford to take only momentary glimpses of the passing scene as all hands bailed with white hats. Soon the mighty bulk of the Coral Sea loomed above us. Passing close by the deck edge elevator, cheers rang out from the chow line. We now were about to learn another lesson— namely, the boom is to be avoided at all costs when the skipper shouts, “Ready about, helms a lee.” Bearing off on the starboard tack was accomplished with swearing and oaths as several members of our stalwart crew picked themselves up from the floorboards to trim the flogging jib sheet. By now the chow line was in hysterics laughing at our ineptness. We continued past the ship making good headway. Finally gaining on the leak, we had time to relax light up and enjoy ourselves. The wind gradually diminished and by sunset dropped completely. You would be surprised how enjoyable a four mile row back to the ship can be in your own windjammer.

    We took turns rowing, bailing, singing. It was well after sundown when we got back to the ship, tired and hungry. We secured the ketch to the after port boat boom and set bailing watches for the night. I was lucky enough to draw the mid watch, but I didn’t care - It was the kind of day I would never forget...

    Thats me wading alongside our whale boat yacht as the skipper bails.
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    We continued to sail the whale boat at various ports and evening calms rowing her back to the ship became routine. Commander Stanley especially enjoyed our boat handling prowess. On one occasion after a dying breeze we rowed up to the USS De Moines, a cruiser anchored off Nice, France We all stroked together and at the order of “Up oars”, we held them in erect position with blades fore and aft and at “Boat oars” we neatly stowed the sweeps, Our skipper steered our whale boat up to the accommodation ladder, boarded the cruiser and disappeared. Later he complimented us on our oarsmanship as he also received accolades while aboard. On other occasions I remember tying the whale boat to a quay in Villefranche France. We draped a tarp across the boom and set liberty watches from our own little yacht. I vividly remember inviting French sailors aboard., and sharing wine and cheese they brought aboard. I broke out my harmonica and did a rendition of La Marseillaise". They stood up , saluted and after a good bit of sailor comradery, some more wine and just a little more they left.

    After Korea started the whale boat went back to navy shipyards somewhere, again neglected, and probably finished her days to rot away, but who knows? She sure did have a glorious sailing time in the Med. Next, a stateside rearmament, radar refit, New air group and then back to the Med again. This time Commander Stanley managed to get aboard three Penguin class 11' sailing dinghies in kit form . He had some pull even during war time When off duty we managed to assemble two of them on the mess deck. This was my first experience at boat building Our usual miserable mess deck master at arms BT 1 Ryan even took an interest . We were on his turf. He didn’t mind wood shavings and glue droppings falling on his deck as long as we cleaned up after.. Ryan was relieved from some of the boredom of his usual duties. We were rank amateurs at this wooden boat building in a steel navy. Aboard ship back in the 50's all the ship boats were made of wood and it was interesting to see them being maintained by the boat crews . On one occasion during heavy weather ( a hurricane) some of the 35' & 50' boats snapped their wire securing cables to roll into aircraft engines stored in great sealed cans. Colliding and breaking their cables as well. It was chaos on the hanger deck with a 45,000 ton carrier rolling and pitching in the blow . Boats were stove in, requiring re planking. Later it was interesting seeing them repaired on the hanger deck. Ancient caulking mallets rang out almost drowned out by 20th century aircraft landing on the deck above..The damage control rates did the repairs and took no interest in we amateurs struggling later in off hours to get a plywood dinghy’s together on the mess deck. Little by little we managed to get two penguins together and rather decent looking as well. Soon we had them over and sailing during port calls when off duty. On one occasion In Toronto Bay, Italy, I and a ship mate Ed were sailing in blowing winds . I didn’t react fast enough in a gust and found myself swimming next to the dinghy. My first but not my last capsizing

    Next
    Gulf stream squalls
    Back aboard Shaula
    Last edited by J. Dillon; 03-01-2007 at 11:27 AM. Reason: text correction
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  24. #94
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    A couple of years ago I read a book about a guy who built a sailboat and sailed with his wife from South Carolina up the Intracoastal Waterway to Maine and back. It was a good read. I had actually found it in WoodenBoat magazine in the list of new books, reviewed books, etc. Don't remember the title but it should be easy to find.

    JD, your writing is even better. Please compile this into a book, novel, or whatever.

    My grandfather was in the Navy in WWII and served until the late '50s / early '60s. He had a lot of great stories too but didn't do much with smaller boats or sailboats, unfortunately.

    Regards,
    Dave

    Thistle #3813
    Rascal runabout in progress

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    Listened the other day to an interview with a woman who teaches people to write short stories.
    She was saying that writing down memories has the effect of bringing other memories to the surface.
    I hope that is the way it is for you JD and that we have lots more to look forward to.

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    Thanks JD !! I get my dose
    Seems we start a consensus for you to write a book

    Lannig
    www.mavourneen-mary.com

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    David and others I appreciate your kind words and comments. I intend to see this to the end for a lot of reasons. Even though difficult it is a good exercise in recapturing old memories and maybe my great grandchildren might get a kick out of it. I'd prefer they have their own adventures to experience.

    Yes Rufustr recalling stuff is infectious It does dust off old shelves we'd forgotten about. I'm glad Paul gave me a nudge.

    Some more fixes later.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

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    Mr Dillon, despite your protestations on the difficulty of writing, yours is really good, and getting better. I especially enjoyed the whaleboat episode. You captured what was exciting about a first boat and a first sail very well.

    thanks

    Paul
    Simpler is better, except when complicated looks really cool.

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    Back Aboard Shaula

    07/08/86 08:52 Tried to take a nap. The boat was rolling heavily as the wind had died but a ground swell prevailed. The slatting of the boom and sails was quite jolting. Slam bang, slam bang, slam bang. Even sheeting in tight it became quite disconcerting. To keep the battery charged I ran the engine 1 hour each day. That would provide reasonable brightness for my nav lights.

    The radar alarm sounded and there off the stb. quarter was a ship outbound. I was concerned about the blip I gave on his radar. I had raised an additional reflector for reassurance. I hailed him on CH 13 and inquired as to it’s signal. He replied that he was the “Gypsum King” and reported I gave a good signal, and asked “Where are you bound?” “Bermuda”, I replied. “Good sailing”, he answered. That was the last time I had any communication with any vessel I signaled . They were all mute when hailed. Probably all foreign crewed with little English spoken.

    I

    My hang out on the cushion for naps. Notice the folding dinghy lashed to the railing

    07/08/86 12 :00 No traditional noon sight. I just noted in the ship’s log the loran position as 39o 24 78 N 72o35 67 W. Still no wind and continued heavy rolling. For me in these conditions a noon sight was impossible. In planning this passage I was determined to get as much sleep as possible by napping whenever I could as conditions permitted. But trying to sleep with this bone jolting rolling defied any attempt at rest. All I could manage was hanging on and hope my fillings stayed in place. I wedged myself in the cockpit against the cabin and tried to doze with an occasional glance at the wide angle mirror I had installed a on the wind vane.
    07/08/86 15:11 Took a sun sight and plotted a line of position It was 7 NM from my Loran fix. I attributed the distance due to the rolling which had diminished accurate sextant work. The plot also revealed I was 15 miles from the rhumb line . This is OK I thought, as it took me out of the course of cruise ships Bermuda/NYC bound . Last year on Bill’s ketch we knew when we were near the rhumb line by sighting occasional styrofoam cups thrown over the side from cruise ships’ passengers. But with 5 people aboard sighting these vessels was not a problem. .

    15:44 From the ship’s log: Just struck a large timber in the water. Hope there isn’t any damage to the prop. Even at this distance from shore, things get in the way. I doubt that even an attentive lookout would have see this one coming.

    07/08/86 18:41 Just some traces of ice in the box. Made a stew from fresh vegetables. For meat, some kosher hot dogs cut up . The pressure cooker is a great invention and this stew will last for three days. All is contained in the pot and even if it falls off the stove you still have a meal.

    07/08/86 19:35 Wind coming up from the SW at 5 kts and increasing. Taff rail log reading 162 S miles. Since my log reads in statute miles I had to convert to NM so that is 141 NM. The rolling stopped and we’re moving again.. Raised the jib now that we have wind to fill her. Double checked. the auto helm. Course 138 T. Turned on radar detector, looked around, and took a nap. Awoke in about two hours to answer natures call, then scanned the horizon. There was no chance to take a sight on Jupiter as it was a bit hazy. We were moving I guess at about 6 kts. and the loran confirmed this speed within a few 10ths. Tending things does occupy one’s time, reefing, sail trim, cooking, but you do have time to think about the past and what lies ahead. I brought along two guns. Both rifles, one a single shot 22 and the other a 32 Winchester lever action. That stayed in its case but the 22 I’d use to plink. I’d get an empty bottle, partially fill it, then throw it as far fwd as I could manage. Then I’d pick up the loaded rifle, cock it and blast away. Only one shot per bottle. Out of about 50 shots I did manage to hit one bottle. Not bad, I thought, but pure luck . Hitting a wake tossed bottle from a moving rolling pitching boat got to be whim of Lady Luck.. Maybe she was with me




    Shown here is a portion of a pilot chart. A fun read. One could pour over it for hours to see the amassed wealth of information collected by mariners during years of reporting and observing. For those not familiar, a study of the wind rose is worth a glance. Those green curved arrows represent the flow and velocity of the Gulf stream, the explanation of which is also shown. At this time of year a passage to Bermuda from NY the wind should be from the SW 38% at force 4. The course to Bermuda is roughly SE. This gives a nice beam wind. Of course this is only an average and no way carved in stone. For me, so far, Lady luck was not smiling but not frowning either. A NW wind which I had been having 50% of the time still pushed me to Bermuda but promoted rolling. But all in all, OK, as no gales so far. Therefore, don’t push it Jack.

    I now estimate I’m in the gulf stream. or close. It meanders all the time and the racing yachts love to keep track of its meanders via satellite to get into a favorable swirl or back eddy, but I have no such luxury aboard. I have to take it as it comes. For some the stream has a fearsome reputation. as depicted by Winslow Homer and other artists. A dismasted sloop with forlorn sailor pondering his fate as he eyes the sharks surrounding the boat is familiar to all. The stars close to the horizon were starting to diminish I reduced sail before turning in at 23:30 by taking in the jib and running up a storm jib. I could feel the boat moving along and the loran showed 6.5 kts.

    07/09/86 04:02 Waves slamming against the hull inches from my ear wake me up. We’re well heeled over, rain is blasting the deck and I can hear thunder. It’s humid as hell. I put on my foul weather jacket, the hell with the pants. As I start to go on deck to snap on the harness, a crack of thunder crashes as lightening illuminates the auto helm and the churning sea behind . Gaining the deck I hook up to the jack line and moved fwd. to lower the jib hastily shoving it under a pre rigged system of shock cords stretched across the fore deck to take care of situations like this..The stay sail is OK. Now the main sail. I lowered, and thought 1st or second reef? Second, I decided , as I tied in the points, no telling how long this will last. I’m not racing. The wind shrieked through the rigging with a bit of a tattering sound, something was loose. Back in the cockpit I eyed the compass . More or less the same, still heading in the right direction. The boat relieved, straightened up a bit. Now I ducked below under my midget dodger and beheld the wild scene about me. Being in a small boat alone in the dark, and lightening stabbing the water in all directions, with seas crashing against your boat does put fear in one, me included. Witnessing the awesome power of nature is humbling. I could see fwd. as the little dodger had a window. Multiple crashes of thunder seemed to echo all around. From what, I thought? The boat would reel from higher gusts but still forged on for Bermuda just about in the right direction. I felt like I was in the middle of a amphitheater the sound thunder all around focusing on my little 27' boat crashing thru the waves. Thor hurling bolts at me, missing, but coming close. Some with multiple streaks going across up and down illuminating the scene like a flare on a battlefield. My wake creamed behind me and when on a crest, a sliver of light reflected off the taunt taffrail log line. It was exhilarating. The wind vane turned back and forth abruptly dragging the tiller along as gusts hit from different directions. Rain continued to pelt but rain like you never saw before. I felt it could beat your brain out. It was cold, missing the warmth of a shower turned up. The two drains in the cockpit were on the point of being overwhelmed.. The leeward one full, its gurgling sound diminished, while the higher one drained just barely keeping the cockpit empty. . I should have realized this was going to happen. The NW breeze was bringing cooler air over the Gulf Stream in which I was now sailing. The two air masses don’t get along and I was in the midst of the battle. I recalled the low stars blotting out before turning in. I had ignored its warning. Gradually the wind diminished, waves subsided and rain tapered off. The squall passed. Should I make all sail? It’s almost day light . I’ll get some much needed sleep...reef shaking out later. I dosed off.

    Next a Sobering thought
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  30. #100
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    Dec 2001
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    Default

    Good stuff, JD.
    No adversary is worse than bad advice.

  31. #101
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    Apr 2000
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    checkin' in for my dose.
    Hey! It's MY Hughniverse!

  32. #102
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    Aug 2005
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    Hartland, Vt
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    Default

    We anxiously await the next installment....

  33. #103
    Join Date
    May 1999
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    New Hampshire Seacoast, USA
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    Default Please continue JD

    It is a pleasure to spend time with your very well written and most interesting short stories. Will print out the thread when the series ends. Reminds me when we had the company of John Smith on the forum.

    Don't we have another aspiring writer around here from your neck of the woods?

    abe

  34. #104
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    Oct 1999
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    Hi Abe, Good to see you check in here. I thought you would be still digging out. Get lots of paper. I'm a long way from the end.

    Fair winds.

    JD
    Senior Ole Salt # 650

  35. #105
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    I have printed this link out and will be providing some extra surprise reading material to the misses as she sinks slowly down on the side bench tommorrow while underway.
    Happy trails to you.

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