Back from a week in paradise

at our great friends Dave and Cheryl McDaniel’s new home on Fish Bay in St John. They just completed building this classic West Indies villa on the south shore. It was a welcome break from this Winter of our discontent.

Last Saturday was the Annual Friends of Virgin Islands National Park Gala held at their new home. There’s a pic of Julia and I with Dave and Cheryl and others on the beach here. Flicker album here with lots of pics that show just how beautiful Butterfly Beach Villa is. Photos courtesy of Tropical Focus Photography. What a treat to meet scores of local folks for a night of dining, drinking and dancing for a good cause. All shared a passion for this particular slice of Paradise.

No sailing last week but a lot of exploring, beach and pool time. What a vacation. Thanks again and again Dave and Cheryl. We’ll be back as soon as we can.

During our absence Winter decided to loosen it’s grip at home. It’s supposed to be in the 60’s tomorrow. (Though cooler at the shore!)

Pool Cottage
Our rooms were upstairs in the Pool Cottage. Very comfortable, always a breeze and a view of Fish Bay through the mangroves.

View from our room
The view from our room the day of the Gala. One of the several bars can be seen on the veranda. Wow.

The pool was hard to beat; nice shade in the afternoon.

Spa time
Of couse the late afternoon Spa sessions were easy to get used to. What a life!

Cinnamon Bay
We managed to tear ourselves away form the pleasures of Butterfly Beach Villa to sample some of the local beaches. This is at Cinnamon Bay, one of the National Park Beaches.

Shade view
Julia at Francis Bay. Gin clear water, warm sun and a bit of shade make for a great day.

Happy Camper
Yours truly enjoying some fresh coconut water.

A natural floater. So very, very comfortable.

Dave, Cheryl, Julia and Russ
The four of us in the great room in the big house. Great friends, great Champagne, great trip.

Sjogin updates soon.

Almost ready

The 2010 Duckboat Worlds are this Friday at Mantoloking. Details here. Speedwell lacks a coat of Maynard Bray White on her bottom, a bit of soaking and rigging to be ready. Found out most folks now lash the stays rather than using turnbuckles. I think it has something to do with causing less damage in collisions. Duckboat racing IS a contact sport.

White for now. I had planned to paint the bottom the same as the green trim on Sjogin but ran out. I have an order in with Kirby but it won’t be here on time. I’ll use the MB White for now.

My so called Bench
The usual found plank workbench full of this seasons work.

Sulking Sjogin
Sjogin waiting for her work to resume. I’m shooting for the week after Labor Day to put her back in commission.

One more from Maine. This fine pic of Tendress was taken by Dick Wynne from Sea Harmony on a beautiful Wednesday afternoon a few weeks ago.

Lamb's Ears
What time is it? Time to trim the Lamb’s Ears.

Back from Maine

and making progress on Sjogin’s Summer refit. I’m getting the offsets ready to send to the designers for their pending Sjogin plans work as well as doing the usual painting.

Julia and I spent last week in Maine on Eggomoggin Reach at the usual spot. Mostly fine weather with a day or so of fog and showers. We planned our visit so we could watch the Eggomoggin Reach Regatta (ERR) last Saturday. The weather and racing were spectacular. Not a word I use often but truly so.

Our “own” Silent Maid won all three of her races. She’s now heading back home and should be in Cape Cod waters this weekend.

Matt Billey and Jette
Matt Billey and his dream made flesh. Jette is a 25 foot Danish fishing boat from the Bornholm area. I wrote about this project earlier this year. Here’s the Link. We stopped in Gloucester on the way to Maine.

Tendress at rest
Queen of the Reach.

Reaching home
Tendress on a close reach. We had just one sail on her but did have the thrill of seeing Sea Harmony under sail.

Sea Harmony
She’s up from Marblehead to race in the ERR. She’s an Albert Strange canoe yawl. Details here. This was taken last Wednesday. Perfect late afternoon SW breeze. Perfect for reaching up and down the….Reach.

At WoodenBoat
At anchor in the harbor by WoodenBoat in Brooklin. The folks on the sloop chattin’ with the kayaker are Forum friends. It was nice to meet Willin’

Sea Harmony
Here’s Sea Harmony at anchor at WB. Sorry we didn’t have time to chat with Dick Wynne and Thad Danielson. Dick is in from the UK for a cruise with Thad. Here’s a link to Thad’s web page. He’s a very accomplished builder.

At the Landing
Calm morning at the Landing.

More tomorrow…

Maid getting rolled
Even with her 1,000 square feet of sail, Silent Maid is no match for Joyant.

WoodenBoat Show in Mystic

Our annual pilgrimage to Mystic and the Wooden Boat show was last weekend. Some virtual friends were rendered analog but a few were missing. A little less bling this year but good weather and the usual great time at our friends in Guilford. Several new Forum members showed up; one family coming from Sitka, Alaska.

Clint Chase from Portland, ME had a booth displaying photos of Sjogin and early plans for the Norzh 22 and other Francois Vivier designs.

Speaking of news from France, I received help in how to take off Sjogin’s lines by way of an e-mail and drawings from Francois Vivier. They will be reviewed along with the pages of notes received from Paul Gartside. Somehow I’ll try to put together a usable set of lines.

The Maid arrives
Julia and I were having dinner at the S & P Oyster House in Mystic when the 7:15 bridge opening revealed a gaggle of fine boats waiting for entrance to Valhalla. The Silent Maid brought up the rear with her varnish glowing in the twilight. That’s her Beaton built tender Maid Service towing on her hip.

This is the bow of Spartan with any early 20th century launch chugging along in the stream.

Spartan is a Herreshoff 50, built in the 20’s. The 50 refers to her waterline length; she’s 72′ overall.

Perfect cushion
The perfect cushion. One of the perfect details to be found on Spartan. We last saw her in 2008 with the deck being installed and the spars roughed out. Craftsmanship lives and is the equal of the glory days.

The Maid
Silent Maid in all her glory. Had a nice chat with Wendy Byar and John Brady, some true Maid Servants. Also met Stan Grayson, he of the book Catboats. A long time ago he took some photos of the Silent Maid under sail with Julia and I aboard.

I’ll post some more later. Here’s the link to the Flickr Set

Back from vacation

We spent a great 10 days in the Virgins with our cruising pals, Dave and Cheryl. We spent most of the time in waters around St John and in Fish Bay, the site of their new home. We managed to get up to North Sound again in Virgin Gorda, staying in Leverick Bay. For the first time in ten years we slipped through the narrow (and shallow) passage between Virgin Gorda and Mosquito island, saving a few miles off the trip. A wonderful time with great friends. We are indeed blessed.

Cinnamon Bay
Cheryl and Julia at Cinnamon Bay on the north side of St. John.

At Butterfly Beach
At Butterfly Beach, Dave and Cheryl’s slice of paradise on Fish bay. We’re standing on a bridge through the mangroves. They expect to be done this summer.

Dave amid the final bits. Our future room is on the upper left. All very amazing.

Sonny, waiting for a crew. Julia and I sailed on her last Summer in Maine. She’s moored in Soper’s Hole on Tortola.

Motoring to windward
Dave and I driving up to Coral Bay. We spent two days there, going to the St. John Blues Festival last Saturday night. Cool tunes under the stars. And Dancing!

Soper's Hole sunset
Classic sunset view at Soper’s Hole. one of our favorite stops. More pics on Flickr.

And more Sjogin news this weekend. One of my readers has expressed an interest in Sjogin plans. I hope to take some measurements this weekend for Mr. Vivier.

New bits

Julia and I went to Annapolis this weekend for an all too brief visIt with my two sons, Jeffrey and David. No sailing, as a nasty front came through over the weekend. Jeff was in DC for a web analytics conference was able to spend some time with his brother. Here we are at J-Port where David is an instructor.

At J-Port
David, Shooby, Jeff and Julia.

We had lunch at the Boathouse in Eastport; a local spot for post race analysis. David called it “Yachtie Karate”, referencing the hand motions of all of the sailors describing racing tactics. Too funny.

Back Creek
I had no idea of the amount of sailboats in Annapolis. Everywhere you look you see spars. Beaton’s is like that on upper Barnegat Bay but this was special. We need to return for an exploratory sail toot sweet.

Late afternoon light
As the season advances, the low afternoon light lights up the spent roses and volunteer daises.

Last rose?
Last rose of the season? We usually have them through Halloween. The foliage turns a bright yellow for a bit of late season color.

Too high
A little too high tide. Taken last week during the first of two Northeasters. A gentle reminder of living at sea level.

Just back

from our all too short visit to Maine and Brother. Different this time as we met Bob in Portland for weekend on Sonny, ending up on Eggomoggin Reach at the Landing.

For the first time, we had a week of sunny days and clear nights. We had lots of quality Milky Way time as well. The only serious fog we encountered was at sea between Boothbay and the Reach.

Oktusk waiting
Julia and Mary Bauer waiting for Steven and their 50 year old Oktusk, Talisman.

On Portland harbor
Sailing Talisman in Portland Harbor. The start of our run of good weather last Friday afternoon a week ago. Talisman is an Al Mason design, an original down to her canvas decks.

Julia with an OMG moment as Sonny is revealed in all her glory.

Post racing
Sailing back to the barn after almost racing in the MS Cup last Saturday.

Julia waving
Julia waving to the folks on a Schooner. We were moored in Boothbay Harbor. We stopped here after motoring from Portland in very light air and quite warm. It was our first time in Boothbay. A little touch of the Jersey Shore town with all the shops. Nice meal at a Tapas restaurant of all things, three flights up, overlooking the harbor.

Bowling for laughs
We found a Candlestick bowling alley right on the waterfront. A developers wildest fantasy but built and managed for the last half century by the owner who is now 96. I won, narrowly defeating an obviously focused Julia.

Glowing Julia
Headed back to Sonny in perfect twilight. Or is the glow coming from Julia?

Elevenses with Bob watching for lobster pots that are thick on the ground in these waters. At one point visibility was down to 50 yards. We heard a few other boats but no sightings. No whales either but a few seals and dolphins to keep thing interesting.

Reaching up the Reach
Reaching up Eggomoggin Reach. It’s named a Reach as the wind usually blows across this stretch of water from the SW, allowing an easy point of sail in either direction.

Sonny and BL at the Landing.

Julia at ease as we knock around the moorings. Bright warm sun and a steady 4kt breeze makes for an idyllic outing.

At ease
Res ipsa.

Evening light
Another beautiful sunset on my beautiful wife. Bella vista.

OK? Julia threading her way through the moorings in the Benjamin River. That’s a replica of Joshua Slocum’s Spray on the Starboard bow.

And here she is. I believe she’s gone around the world following in Mr. Slocum’s tracks. I’ll check and report further.

Punt messing
Our seventh straight day of great weather finished with a little messing about in Elegant Punts. I built these Phil Bolger tenders almost twenty years ago for a client of my brothers. Nice to see them lovingly refurbished and given regular use.

Last sunset
Last sunset on the Reach. We spent last night in Portsmouth. Had a very pleasant dinner at the Library on State Street.

And now home with garden and Sjogin efforts tomorrow.

Went to the WoodenBoat Show in Mystic this past weekend

We’ve been going for years, even to far Rockland, Maine. It’s been in Mystic for the last three years which seems just about perfect. Wandering around the Seaport while looking a beautiful yachts and honest working craft is a delight.

Here’s a link to the Flickr album.

Or the day after tomorrow but in any event some choice pics from our annual pilgrimage:

The Seaport catboat Breck Marshall seen through Brilliant’s rig.

Elf, the 1888 racing yacht followed us up from Philadelphia. Perhaps we’ll see the new Maid at the next WBS.

Sea Harmony
That’s Thad Danielson’s Sea Harmony in the background. I think that’s a Fish Boat on the left. Anyone know?

Aida, one of my favorite Herreshoff designs. Simple shoal draft ketch built in the 20’s?

Egret sharpie
Egret, a Commodore Munroe sharpie. She’s rigged with sprit booms on her two sails. Very handy rig.

It works!
Refreshing amongst all the varnish. An old but very functional crab skiff. It takes a lot of work to maintain that patina.

Shane and Scot
Shane and Scot Bell, WoodenBoat Forum Moderator and a very patient man.

The Clan
Photo by Steven Bauer’s camera.

Speaking of the Forum, here we are with a couple of dozen of our closest imaginary friends. This was the third time Doug and Carter hosted a party like this. Thanks all.

Back from the USVI

Spent a week enjoying the hospitality of our good friends Dave and Cheryl on Success, their 42′ cutter.

Flickr pics here. More later.

And later than intended but nonetheless, here are a few choice snaps…

Fish Bay
Fish Bay, south side of St Thomas. The National Park starts just to the east. Our home for the week is the second boat from the right.

S.V. Success
S. V. Success, Dave and Cheryl’s 42′ cutter. The other boat is a Fife schooner.

Mooring OK
Mooring pennant OK?

Trunk Bay
Classic view of Trunk Bay. We picked up a mooring there the day after and had some beach time.

Julia and Cheryl
Julia and Cheryl on Trunk Bay beach.

Honeymoon Bay
Honeymoon Bay. We were there on a Monday which turned out to be Movie Night. This is on Water Island off St Thomas; the locals rig a screen between the palms and show movies. We caught glimpses of Yes Man.

Cannon christening
Cheryl and Dave firing our boat christening gift for the first time. It’s a yacht cannon, traditionally used to signal end of day, when colors are struck. Or the Beer Gun as remarked by a nearby boat. Great echoes in Francis Bay.

Local boat
Neat gaff skiff moored in very shallow water in Fish Bay. Could be a local design, though I see a bit of New England influence. (Very hollow bow.)

Finally, a great shot of Cheryl and the emerald water of Trunk Bay. Such is paradise.

Thanks to them both for another great cruise. Our experience grows.