Messin' With Chick
Posted 08 December 2012 - 08:00 AM
Let me introduce myself. My name is Chick and I want to introduce you (later referred to as “y’all”) to my various adventures, boats and characters that I’ve known over the course of 65 years or so of life, most of them messing about in boats. It’s all true as far as memory can make it. I haven’t bothered to change names, at least most of the time (only I will know when) because many of the characters have gone on to another ocean, and the ones still around really won’t mind.
Let’s just call these “ramblings” because my memory isn’t all that great---never has been. We’ll just get along as best we can if you’ll just hang in there with me. I guess the best, most logical place to start is the beginnings, y’all. (See, I told y’all that you would be “y’all”.)
It all started in the sleepy little southern town of St. Petersburg, Florida---y’all will just have to take my word for that one---it WAS just a sleepy little retirement town back then. Old folks laying on the green benches and all. My Mom-to-be was on a visit from Bristol, Virginia/Tennessee. Well, I guess I’d better explain that the Main street of that old mountain town straddles the state line---I think they call it State Street. You older folks may remember Tennessee Ernie Ford. He grew up there. Mom used to baby sit him when he was just a little pea-picker in diapers. Awww, there I go to ramblin’ on. Y’all will just have to forgive me, y’hear?
Back to our story. My Mtb (Mom to be) was walking along Spa beach one day when my Dad-to-be spied her. He was on a visit from Brooklin N.Y. (Imagine the accent with that combination.) Being a wise man, he thought he’d surprise her by swimming under water and popping up right in front of her! It was love at first sight. Marriage came soon and about a year later, I came along. Born of water as the Bible says---had to throw the water in to tie the theme of the story together. I asked my folks to move me back to St. Pete when I was less than a year old.
My earliest memories---well, maybe I only remember ‘cause my parents told me---are of long drives through the Australian pine wilderness out to St. Pete beach. Back then the beaches were about deserted. Don’t look at me in that tone of voice, it’s all true. The story goes that I learned to swim before I could walk.
Are you guys still with me? We’re gettin’ to the boat part right now. I must have been about five or six at the time. By then we had a summer cottage in Snug Harbor off of Old Tampa Bay, just below Gandy Bridge. My dad was working at a car dealership (Kaiser-Frazier, I think). One day he brought an advertising banner on a pole home from work. He mounted it on a raft he built out of scrap wood, and tied it to the end of the dock. Even back then, I loved to go cruisin’. I managed to get the knot untied, and started out across the crick toward Weedon’s Island---and got scared---started wailin’ don’t-ya-know. Then Mom started wailin’, then Dad started wailin’ well, probably not. Anyway, he swam out and rescued me. (The first of many times, as you’ll find out as the story winds on.)
The next remembrance I can drag up comes when I was about ten or eleven. For the next couple of years, Dad would take me and a friend out in a wooden rental boat from O’Neils boat basin at the end of Pinellas Point. He had his own 5HP John-rude that he put on it. That was before the Sunshine Skyway was built---I know, y’all thought it had always been there, didn’t ya.
My parents used to ride their bikes from the south side St. Pete to where the ferry docked and ride it across Tamper Bay to Scary-soda. (Well, that’s what they called them back then.) Hey, I can still remember my old address from when I was a kid, 1910 Seminole Blvd. S. (no zip code then, either) HA! Maybe my memory ain’t so bad after-all. And my phone number was 72- 8262. . (And NOW what’s my phone number?)
Well, back to the story. Remember where we left off? We were headin’ off from the boat basin to Mullet key to explore Ft. Desoto. I think it was built for the Spanish American war, but don’t quote me on that. Maybe it was earlier than that---must have been. Remember, that was before there was a bridge. That reminds me. We kids used to go out to the causeway they were dredging for the Skyway and hunt for fossils that were pumped up from the bottom of the bay. We found tons of horse teeth, parts of mastodon teeth, and all sorts of bone fragments. We’d take bagful’s home and then throw them at each other. Nope, kids were just as dumb back then as they are now.
Now where were we? Oh yeah, still sittin’ in that boat. We’d stop at the little spoil islands that were being piled up from the dredging, and pick up turtles (Diamondback terrapins---protected by law now),and take them home to put in my turtle pool (turtle Town, USA, I called it). I still have turtles in a pool to this day---all legal, so don’t get that look again!
When we got out to Mullet Key, and explore. It wasn’t a big-deal tourist attraction back then. We’d climb all over the fort, look at the old miniature railroad that ran around the island, peek into the old museum, check out the WW II gun emplacement on the beach, swim, and look longingly across the ship channel at Egmont Key. There was a smaller fort on that side. Together, the two forts provided enemy shipping from sailing into Tampa Bay. Dad would never let us go over there because the buzz-tails (rattle snakes, y’all) were so thick. Besides, there were unexploded bombs left on the island from the war. Yes I know we were never bombed---these were left from bombing practice from McDill field. (Actually, we were bombed, but on the west coast of the United States, but someone else can tell y’all about that.)
We kids just KNEW that there was an old tunnel across from Mullet to Egmont---kinda believe it to this day. ‘Course the channel IS ninety feet deep, but don’t confuse me with facts! I remember on the way back one day, the lining of my bathing suit got to itching so bad that I thought I would die. Being a shy kid, I wouldn’t say anything---just sat and squirmed all the way home. One of the longest days of my life!
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When I was about twelve or thirteen, a friend took me to the St. Pete. Junior Yacht Club, where we would check out a couple of prams that Clark Mills had designed tor the Optimist clubs. Yep, you got it! The Optimist pram. And so started a love affair that has lasted to this very day---sailing. Would you believe that they would let kids just come get the boats and sail them in the yacht basin un-supervised!? Now, we hardly let them out of their own yard---our kids, not the boats.
When my dad saw how much I loved boats, he decided it was time that I should have one of my own. One summer’s day he came home with not one, but two! (Got a real deal). Were they beautiful---to me anyhow. First I had to fix them up and paint them. The first of a long line of fixer-uppers---they were a deal, remember? One was a plywood Sailfish; fore-runner to the Sunfish. A little smaller without a cockpit. You would sit or lie on top---until you slid off. The other was a Needlefish, an even smaller board boat. I would sail the sailfish, and a friend could sail the needle fish. I still remember laying on that deck, with the sprinkled on sand non-skid, in the salt, with my acne pimples on fire! Would you believe, I actually thought I was having fun?
The only real adventure that I remember was sailing as a hurricane approached. Hurricane Donna maybe? What a blast! I don’t know how windy it was, but the wind snatched the mast, mast step and all, right out of that boat. I tried to fix it, but the poor thing was never right again---had to pull it out of the water and drain it several times a day.
The next summer, Dad brought home a fiberglass sailboat---a Moth class dinghy. The Moth is an open class. Any hull design. But this was before they got so only a gymnast- or Graham- could sail them. It actually was a great little day sailer. Of course I had it upside down every chance I got. No big deal---you know the drill---over the side, stand on the centerboard, pop it upright, and go on about your business.
By-the-way, about now you’re probably wondering why my dad kept bringing home boats for me. At the time, I just took it for granted, but many years later I asked him about it. I had been an ADHD kid before anyone knew what it meant. I was prone to getting into trouble, and he knew I needed something to keep me occupied. Turned out, he was right. Way back at the beginning of this narrative, I told y’all that he was wise. (Took me a lifetime to learn that, though.)
We'll carry on this little ramble in a few days, y'all.
Posted 09 December 2012 - 06:22 PM
Great read, thanks!
Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:37 PM
So, let’s get back to our continuing saga. I had recently discovered girls. I had met one that spent a weekend next door to me at Snug Harbor and fell in love---at least I thought so. I found out where she lived; it was on the water about half way down Tampa Bay from where I lived. One morning, I set off in my Moth, with some water and snacks, and headed to her house. (ADHD, remember) Took me all day, y’all! When I got there, she wasn’t even there! My life was over! By now it was almost dark. I had to use her parents’ phone and call my poor dad. Oh, did I tell you that I didn’t tell anyone where I was going? (ADHD) He had to drive down and get me with the trailer. We had to pull the Moth up over a seawall to load it up. Scratched it all up. My pride and joy. Dad saw that my heart was broken, so he never said a word.
So what about the girl? She became my first girlfriend. For a few months. By now I had my driver’s license. One night we stayed out too late, and got put on restriction. (Remember, ADHD) When the time was up, I went to her house and was told that she had run off and gotten married! Broken hearted again. I spent most of my teen years with a broken heart.
Somewhere along the way, I acquired a little powerboat. Well actually, I didn’t do the acquiring, my dad did another of his bringin’ home deals. One day he brought home a funny looking little red and white run-about---had fins, y’all. No kidding. It was called a Volksboat. For good reason too. Looked just like a Volkswagon---but with fins. You can look it up on the web, folks, if you’re interested. This was sometime before the Moth experience. I and my friends learned to water-ski behind that little boat. By the way, did I mention that the boat was only ten feet ling? And had seats for four? And we had a 10hp Merc on it? While we kids were trying to learn to ski, but mostly falling, my dad said he thought maybe he’d give it a try. And, dang if he didn’t get up on the first try---didn’t fall off either! Made us all so mad! That was the first and last time he ever skied or rode in one of my boats. He just wasn’t a boat guy.
We had a ball with that little boat; blasting around the mangrove islands, skiing, exploring. I can only remember one adventure though. Oddly enough, it involved a girl this time, too. (So what does that tell you about what young teenage boys really care about?) I was in seventh grade and had just discovered girls. You’ll remember the Moth adventure. Well I was about sixteen then. But this story pre-dates that one by a couple of years.
This girl, Joanne Hood was her name---see, I CAN remember important things---sat in front of me in one of my classes. With great fear and trepidation (Heck, I don’t even know what that means---trepidation that is---I KNOW what fear means.) I managed to find out where she lived. It was on the south side of St. Pete in a waterfront community called Driftwood. In a flash of brilliance I decided to drive my little Volksboat all the way down there. A LOT longer trip than the Moth adventure that this one pre-dates. I loaded up the boat with two six gallon tanks.
This was back in the day of the pressurized tanks, You had to pump some pressure into the tank with a little pump that was built tight in the tank. Once the motor started, it would pump air through an air line back to the tank. There was a double line that plugged into the motor from the tank. It worked pretty well if the seals actually sealed. Some times they did too---sometimes. If not, just give the tank a few pumps now and then.
Guess we better get back to the story. Remember, I was on my way to see a girl. When I finally got to her house, and built up the nerve to knock on her door, she came out and talked with me a bit. I showed her my pride and joy, the little ten foot, funny looking, roundy-decked, finned Volksboat with the mighty mercury ten horse. Then she showed me HER pride and joy. Would you believe it was a Switzercraft power catamaran with twin hundred hp Mercurys. Broken hearted again. Don’t remember much after that folks, but I managed to make it back home again. On fumes. Used up both tanks. Twelve gallons to go all that way---just to be embarrassed. Hey y’all, I bet twelve gallons would just about last long enough to get those big-old Mercs warmed up good.
Well, that's enough for now. I'll see y'all in a few days.
Posted 11 December 2012 - 04:39 PM
Posted 04 February 2013 - 03:27 PM
Let’s take a little time off of this narrative and jump ahead a bunch of years and tell a little yarn about a sailboat named Princess. No, I know what y’all are thinking---you’re thinking about Joe Richards’ book “Princess”, where he finds an old Friendship sloop, Princess and, spending years fixing her up, before finally setting off on their dream of finding a deserted island to inhabit. What’s that? Who’s the “they”? Why, Joe and Princess of course!
Anyhow, let’s get back to my Princess. I loved Joe’s book so much that I had to have a Princess of my own. A few years ago, after reading “Princess” for the umpteenth time, I decided that I just had to write my own Princess story. I just naturally borrowed a bit of Joe’s writing style in a few stories. Just bear with me a bit---I promise that everything will work out ok. So settle in, hang on and away we go…
THE MAKING OF A PRINCESS
Did I ever tell you about how I met my girl? (sorry Joe) No, guess not. So here is the way it all happened. I’d been living in the North Carolina mountains for several years. No water. No boat, No sailing. Now, a sailor without a boat is a miserable thing, doncha know. To ease the pain a bit, I’d been designing boats in my head and dreaming of moving back to the coast someday, probably when I retire. But before y’all get to feelin’ too sorry for me, things weren’t all that bad. I had my other girl, my wife Debbie, and son Peter. They are my real life and blessings from God. Family is what really matters. But have you ever tried sailing on people? Just won’t work! No way!
One day I was out, feelin’ a bit sorry for myself, cruisin’around the back roads of my little mountain town, when I saw her---a broken down, worn out, rotten plywood Charles Whitholtz 17 foot catboat’ lying in the weeds in a backyard. Call it serendipity if you want (I almost named her that by the way). I wasn’t even looking for a boat. Certainly not a rotting hulk. But what can you do when you fall in love?
I immediately whipped the poor car around and pulled into the driveway. Coming out of the garage was a man that I recognized as an old friend that I had known for several years. Talk about a small world! I’d known Jim and his wife, Sue, from our work together in the boy scouts. Sue had even told me that they owned a sailboat. I Took all of that as a sign that I was destined to take the poor old boat off their hands. Right now is a good time to throw in a bit of wit and wisdom---I don’t have much of either, but here it is, just for y’all. “Love is blind”, “There is nothing as satisfying as hauling some old junk home to fix-up”, and “God protects babies, fools,… and people that drag home old junk”. Ok, enough of that---back to the story.
She had last seen water fifteen years before when she was brought up to the mountain from her home on Chesapeke Bay. Since then she had lain in the back yard collecting ants and rot spoor, and waiting for some poor sap like me to fall head over heels for her. Jim said he had just been letting the kids play in her for awhile, and was then make a bonfire out of her remains. He had a use for the trailer she was sitting on. I COULDN”T let that happen---not to a fine example of the boat building art like this. No way, Hosay!
Jim agreed to open her up and let me take a look. Well actually, open her up was not quite accurate---she was already pretty well “opened up”. If you catch my drift… My first look at my love. What a mess. Her cabin top was rotted through and a covering layer of fiberglass was curling up. The aft cabin bulkhead was rotten and home to a very active colony of giant red ants. I dug around the dirt and leaves on the cockpit sole and pushed my hand right through. Her decks were falling in, and her outboard motor was a solid mass of rust. Do you catch the direction of the way we’re heading here? Rotten! Actually, the hull was surprisingly sound. This was MY kind of project---cheap---would you believe free? Go figure---a fine boat like this. The sail had been in storage, and the spars were aluminum, so they were fine. A genuine cat boat. A deal was soon made for a few dollars cash (remember, Jim had a use for the trailer). But it was all mine now---ALL mine. While I rushed back home for my truck, Jim pulled the whole sorry mess out of the weeds with his tractor and pumped up the tires. Debbie would be so thrilled to see what I was bringing home! Hey, if y’all believe that one, you better join the babies and fools that I mentioned a bit earlier.
It would be a year, and a good bit of money before Princess was ready to go to sea again. And she about sank at the dock when she was first launched. But that’s another story for later.
I guess I’d better tell you a bit more about how I came to name my boat “Princess”. Way back when I was working for Charlie Morgan at Morgan yachts, I read a series of installments of the book “Princess” that was running in a sailing magazine at the time. (Sail Magazine, maybe?) Remember back at the beginning of this story, I told you about that Princess. By the way, you’d better hustle out and find a copy of the book somewhere, so you’ll know what all this fuss is all about. I was enthralled, fascinated, and otherwise really liked that book! But I guess you’ve figured that out by now.
Let’s drag all this together and get to explaining. A few years after my Morgan years---about ten actually, I was telling my new wife, Miss Debbie, about how much I loved that book. Just to give you an idea of this---I called her Princess, all of my boats since then Princess, even our Golden retriever, Princess. Are y’all catching on now? Well, Debbie went out and found that book! And so begins a new generation of Princesses. Let’s just dedicate these stories to the memory of the original Princess, and to Joe Richards who loved her.
Maybe later we can come back to some more stories of rebuilding and sailing with Princess. You should know that we did move back to the coast of North Carolina, at the lower end of Pamlico sound. But, that’s all for now, so, y’all have a pleasant sail now…ya hear?
Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:39 PM
I asked my girl where she wanted to spend the weekend. She didn’t even have to think about it! She wanted to visit the lighthouse up at Cape Lookout. How did she want to get there? “Outside” or up the sound, in channel in front of Harker’s Island? Outside of the banks would be a gentle, but light southerly breeze, inside would be variable and even lighter. I thought it best to go the seaward route, but you know how ladies are---Princess wanted to go window shopping along the Harker’s waterfront. So naturally we went her way.
As I suspected, the variable wind wasn’t. Wasn’t blowing that is. Variable or any other way. But wouldn’t you know, when it did start to pick up, it sure-nuff blew variably. Variably from straight ahead, We tacked and the wind tacked right with us! As if that wasn’t bad enough, the wind teemed up with the tide, working against us! It was all a sinister plot to keep us away from our island.
But we made it anyway. The forces of nature hadn’t counted on a friend of ours. If it hadn’t been for my old friend Mr. Evin Rude, we’d most likely still be floating around out there to this very day! He woke up just in time to give us a shove to our destination.
We anchored up right next to a handsome little Fiberglass copy of a Lookout skiff. I left princess on “lookout” while I wandered up to the old lighthouse to see what I could see. With it’s black and white diamond pattern and rotating light, it has warned sailor-men since 1859 to avoid the shoals that extend well out beyond the cape. Actually, there was another, shorter lighthouse built on the site back in 1812. For awhile, both lighthouses stood together.
There is a story of how the older lighthouse was eventually demolished. I’ll try to relate the story as best I can from what I remember from what the ranger told me. It seems that the lighthouse keeper at the time wanted to have the old lighthouse torn down, but just couldn’t figure a way to accomplish the task. On asking around, he heard about Uncle Billy Hancock. Among other things, Billy had the reputation of being the fastest runner on the islands. The keeper figured that this talent just might come in handy in pulling off this job. After a brief negotiation, Uncle Billy was contracted to do the work.
Upon looking the structure over, Billy decided that maybe he’d bitten off more that he could chew! But it was too late to back out now---He was a man of his word, and he’d just have to figure a way. With plenty of scheming and head scratching, Billy thought maybe he had found the solution. He could use a sledge hammer and just knockout most of the bottom row of bricks. Then with a final swing of the hammer, he could run like crazy before the whole thing collapsed around him, picking up his pay on the way off the cape.
Billy soon put his plan into action. On the appointed day, people from all up and down the island, and even from across the sound from Harker’s island, gathered for the big event. This was the most exciting thing that had happened on the island in years. Everything went just the way that Billy planned, right up to the final swing of the sledge. Sure enough, there was a mighty groaning coming from deep within the old lighthouse. Amidst a loud crashing and a cloud of dust, the building collapsed, and Billy took off running. As luck would have it, his foot got caught up in a coil of rope, and down Billy went!
The scene shifts to the next day. As is usually the case, a number of men are gathered around the old stove in the little country store. The conversation naturally shifts to the events of the previous day. Someone asks if Uncle Billy really is the fastest runner on the islands. The answer---I don’t know about running, but he sure as the Devil can crawl 35 mph!
For more stories of the outer banks islanders, check out the little books by Sonny Williamson that are sold at Calico Jack’s on Harker’s island and other local marinas and book stores.
When I finally got back to Princess, I found her snuggled right up to that capricious little outboard. I thought that I could trust her after all the time and work that I had lavished on her. Now what would that silly skiff want with a lady many times its age, anyway?
Now that I knew what Princess had on her mind, I thought it best to make her work a bit and sail on down to Lookout Bight before settling in for the night. Who knows what kind of trouble she might have gotten into as I slept that night.
We found an uncrowded spot away from the other island visitors about halfway between the lighthouse and the old Coast Guard station. It was mesmerizing to watch the sun slip below the horizon behind Power Squadron Point as the powerful beam of the lighthouse’s searchlight swept overhead.
Finally after our usual Dinty-mor boil-in-the-bag dinner, pour-out-of-the-bag Sun shower, and snuggle-into-the-sleeping bag-for-the-night, listening to the big band music of Make Believe Ballroom on the radio, we were ready for a good relaxing sleep. Yea, sure! I was right in the middle of-BUMP–a pleasant dream-BUMP-when I became-BUMP-aware of-BUHP-something not quite-BUMP-right. BUMP. Foggily arising from my dream state, all I could think of was that Princess had managed to slip off to bump up against that lecherous skiff. But I had her all wrong. While I slept, the tide had snuck out and Princess was gently bumping her keel on the soft sand bottom to warn me.
Now that was the kind of trouble we needed to stay away from. With an apology to my girl for doubting her, I called on Mr. rude to come to our rescue again and get us out of the shallows. It was fascinating to watch the sparkling trail of phosphorescence in our wake as we motored across the sand flats into the deeper water. Once again we dropped the hook and climbed back into the warm sleeping bag. Princess was tired too, and promised that there would be no more BUMPS in the night. The rest of the night was spent in peaceful slumber. Just me, Princess, and Mr. Rude.
The next morning came with a gentle breeze and a Carolina blue sky. Today would be a good day to let my girl sleep in a bit. At her age, she tires easily, and she’d had a busy day yesterday.
While visiting the lighthouse, it had been the Shireys that had told me the story of Uncle Billy. Mr. and Mrs. Shirey travel around to various national parks and work as caretakers, and rangers to help pay their expenses. Mr. Shirey told me about an old village at the end of the island called Point City. It is mostly abandoned now, but a few families still retain use of the houses that had belonged to their families for generations.
Naturally I’d have to explore the old village. I woke princess up just enough to ferry me down to the old abandoned Coast Guard station. There was a road that led back to the village. The shore slopes so gradually at this point that I couldn’t get in as close as I wanted to. If we anchored out far enough to allow for the outgoing tide, I’d have to wade in chest deep water. As Princess drifted back off to sleep, I tried to rig some way to set one anchor out in deeper water, and another on the beach. If I could tie off a spare block on the bow, and a line leading through that to the shore, I could let the wind blow me in to get off on the beach, and then pull the boat back out into deeper water while I did my exploring. Good plan, right? Between the line being too short, and the wind blowing too hard, my great scheme just wouldn’t work. Well, I’d already spent far too much time with the lines, block, and extra anchor. Might just as well give up and wade in. Good thing it’s summer!
As I made my way to the shore, I spotted a man with a video camera on a tripod aimed at a bunch of seagulls fighting over a dead fish on the beach. Not only was he watching as I made a fool of myself with all the foolishness trying to get to shore, but now I was scaring off the cast of characters in what was surely intended tobe the seabird epic of the year! At least that’s how it seemed from the scowl he was giving me as I climbed up on the dock next to him. I mumbled my apologies as I hurried off the dock and headed toward my objective.
With a start like that, I should have known how the day was going to go. By now the sun was up enough to be hot, and the mosquitoes were out on patrol. I saw two of them carrying a big raccoon off into the underbrush for breakfast. I overheard one of them telling the other “let’s hurry before the big boys come and take him away from us!” True, every word.
The road down the center of the dunes was a lot longer than I thought it would be. Oddly enough, it is a paved road. Some day I’ll have to find out why. Wet, salty clothing and flip-flops don’t make for comfortable walking. Especially with trying to beat off the skeeters with a club. Did you know that the mosquitoes are considered the state bird by residents of the banks? Eventually, I came to a fork in the road. One direction was a dirt road leading down toward the beach, and the paved road heading inland.
First, I decided to head down to the beach and check-out the remains of the old WWII gun mount. Thousands of tons of shipping were sunk along this part of the Outer banks by German U-boats. A few miles to the west stands a Civil War era fort, Fort Macon, that was re-activated during the war to guard against the German threat. I’ll tell you more about the fort next time Princess and I get over that way.
After my detour on the beach, I headed back inland. The paved road-to-nowhere was a treat after trudging through the sand dunes. But it soon turns to sand as it winds between the weather beaten old houses of Point Village.
I could hear generators humming as the weekend residents go about their business. No one lives there full time anymore. In the old days, people only had oil lamps to see by, and got water from rain water cisterns or hand pumps. Now they have electricity to see and work by. Electrical power has come to stay…for a while at least. This whole chain of islands is now the Hatteras National Seashore. Uncle Sam owns the whole thing, including the houses. For now some of the houses are leased back to the families that had owned them.
What a fascinating place to prowl around among the lonely and weather beaten old houses and twisted salt-stunted trees. These islands are as close to the land that time forgot that you are likely to find so close to civilization.
Our trip back home, on the seaside route this time, was uneventful. Princess behaved herself on the passage along Shackleford banks and into Beaufort Inlet. She enjoyed her trip, and hopes you will all join her on her next adventure. Until then, goodnight and may God Bless.
Posted 27 February 2013 - 06:49 AM
Hey y’all, I was diggin’ through my files the other day, and ran across this. Design number – 0, a 96 inch World Cruising Dinghy. Maybe I’d better explain. I’m always looking for the perfect design to fit any particular parameter (heck, I hope I spelled that right---I’m not sure I even know what it means). I was playing around one day a few years ago trying to find the perfect mix of solutions and compromises to design the perfect small world-cruising yacht for my own use
She had to be only large enough for one---me, and small enough to fit in my carport when not actually sailing around the world, yet large enough to carry everything that I would need for a protracted cruise. She needed to be easy to handle. Room for a head and galley without compromising sleeping accommodations. Self-steering so I could take extended naps. Roomy above and below, with full standing headroom. Stowage for whatever food I would need that I couldn’t catch. A couple cans of bean soup should be enough. Water wouldn’t be a problem---it’s all around me. I think that I have achieved all of this quite admirably, don’t y’all?
Here are a few of my solutions for your admiring perusal. I solved the size dilemma by intentionally designing everything to the smallest possible dimensions. One reason for this requirement was that I couldn’t afford dock space or mooring. For some reason, my design business just wasn’t bringing in the income that I thought it would. That also meant that I couldn’t afford anything bigger. I suppose that some people actually thought that I was too radical! Imagine that. Well, anyone who thinks like I do is just “ahead of his time”. (Designers note: it’s now thirty years after this design, and I’m STILL ahead of my time.)
Next was the requirement that she be easy to handle. That one was easy. Small size with a small rig. What could be more practicable (for y’all who are of the younger set, this is an old form of the word “practical”.) Now for the galley, head, and sleeping accommodation. Notice the “Space saver head”(Pat. Applied for). W/c, shower, sink, tooth brush holder, and all the rest in one, self-contained unit. Now, what could be more practical than that? Notice that the entire accommodation below becomes one great-big berth! Shoot, I may have to re-think my statement about only having accommodation for one! Trouble is, my wife (Miss Debbie) only will go day sailing with me. Something about missing her “real” bathroom at home. Hrumfff!!!
Now for the spaciousness below. Full standing headroom in a 96” yacht! WOW! What design genius! (Okay, I guess that’s enough of the “!!!” for now, but ya gotta admit, this is excitin’ stuff…) Well I do have to admit that toe room is a bit cramped down in the well. But who wants to stand anyway with all that room to stretch out in.
Some have indicated that they didn’t believe that I had designed-in enough stowage. Those same people just don’t have enough imagination. All I would need is room for a net and some fishing gear---there is plenty of food swimming all around the boat all the time. And water? Haven’t you ever seen those personal reverse osmosis pumps that Boy scouts carry when they go camping? Ha! Problem solved.
You may have noticed the apparent lack of an engine. Who wants such a stinky thing taking up precious space in such a small boat? Not to mention the need to carry fuel. I took care of that little problem in a most ingenious manner. Pay attention y’all, you just might learn something here. When the wind isn’t blowing, you don’t need the sails, right? So take the two piece hast apart, screw a frying pan into each section, and viola---oars. You did notice the oar-locks didn’t you? Now tell me that isn’t clever. Oh, and if the seas build, and the wind blows up, well, it’s too hard to sail too. Just climb into the berth and take a rest. This little boat is just like a fishing bobber, and you never saw a bobber sink, did you?
Oh, and the self-steering gear. I couldn’t quite figure out how that would work, but I figure that anyone silly enough to actually build this boat, should just figure that out for themselves!
So there you have it, see you out on the sound real soon, y’all.
Design drawing #0, World Cruising dinghy.pdf 594.49K 52 downloads
Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:01 PM
LEVI’S FIRST SAIL
Summer Breeze wanted to take me sailing yesterday. What a gorgeous day! This is the first chance she's had to kick-up-her-heels a bit. Sure hope it's like this for the mess-about we’re planning in a couple of weeks! It was the first time sailing for my 15 year old grandson, Levi. He helped "Breezy" to get ready at the ramp and got to steer as we got away from the dock. (The kicker was in charge of the power department at the time.)Then, on the way out of the creek to the Neuse river, we had a nice "summer-like" breeze to guide us along under sail. Things were great all the way out of the creek and into the river, until a mess of clouds drifted across the sun. You know how it is with sailing this time of year---gusts, wind direction change, HEELING. "This things gonna turn over!!!" was Levi's mantra as the day wore on
Somehow we managed to partake of our mid-day feast of Vienna sausage, crackers, soda, and cookies. How he managed to eat while holding on with both hands and both legs, I'll never know! Well, teen-aged boys will ALWAYS find a way to eat. Eventually we made it back. Levi allowed as to it being "kinda fun". Summer Breeze got to try out her new rigging mods, and I'm now confident that we can make it through the mess-about without problems.
Well, here it is time for the mess-about. Typical---rained out, colded out, and winded out. Looks like we have to cancel. Doggone it! If we had gone, I would be hanging on just like Levi and whimpering. I remember the first time ever that I went sailing. A friend had invited me to go with him to the Junior Yacht Club in good old St. Pete. (The land of green benches, retirement capital of the south, average age of…really old.)
Speaking of those green benches. The retired folks used to come down town and spend the day on the benches in the Florida sun. Every once in awhile, they’d get up and wander into the 5 and 10 cent stores for a glass of cold water. If it was winter, they’d ask for some hot water and mix in some free dime store lunch counter free ketchup to make hot tomato juice. Or they would dip a tea bag from home in the cup and stir in some dime store free sugar. Seems that the store owners didn’t take kindly to the free loaders, so they went to the city fathers to solve the problem. Y’all are gonna love this one. The solution was to paint the benches in a variety of pastel colors!
Well let’s get back to the Jr. Yacht club. We checked out an Optimist Pram and carried it from the shed to the water. Then we gathered up dagger board, rudder, and spars with sail already attached and igged it all up. After a short instructional sail, he let me try it. I was HOOKED! After that, I rode my bike down to the harbor and sailed every chance I could get.
One time I took a friend of mine and got him into his own boat. Everything was fine until a squall came up. He was so scared that he couldn’t get the darn boat to do anything but sail straight down wind. Y’all may remember that we were in the yacht club harbor. You could only go a short way before running out of water---and into a sea wall. And that’s just what he did! I don’t recall that I was ever so afraid that I hollared “This things gonna tip over”, but I do remember a girl sailing past and saying “your painters dragging in the water”. Heck, I didn’t know that my painter (I never heard it called that before) was even showing, much less that it was dragging in the water, but I sure was embarrassed! Almost turned over on purpose.
Posted 02 May 2013 - 03:51 PM
Hello Miss Chick Ludwig.!
I read the topic Levi's First Sail, Its quite interesting..Thanks:)
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