Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Baking bread on the boat

I try to keep things as simple as i can and this time of the year is perfect for baking bread. Because I follow the sun, it is usually too hot to use the stove, let alone the oven, but the outside temperature is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit so the dough will rise okay before you cook it, and the inside of the boat doesn't become so uncomfortable that you have to leave.
I first mix the yeast with 2 cups of warm water and let it stand for a few minutes.  The water should be warm and not hot. Then add this to 3 cups of flour and mix. Leave this to rise for an hour or so and then nead and transfer to your loaf pan to rise again. You can either buy a non stick Teflon coated pan or smear butter on the bottom and edges of your container. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and then cook for 30 minutes.
The 3 cups of flour and 2 cups of water along with the yeast is all you really need to make bread, but if you want to add a pinch of salt and a teaspoon of sugar along with herbs and spices, you can. Above is an Italian herbal loaf that i had for breakfast along with my coffee this morning. Yummmm!  Also when cooking with gas, I find you have to insulate the pan somewhat in the oven, so that it doesn't burn on the bottom.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Sunset Bay, Stuart, Florida

Well after calling all the mooring fields on the gulf coast and finding that they all had waiting lists I settled on Sunset Bay again for my winter base here in Florida.  I could have gone to Dinner Key in Miami, but it is very exposed to the east and Boot Key Harbor in Marathon was my preference but they do not let you leave the boat and I wanted to travel for the upcoming holiday season.
I really like the marina here. It has excellent facilities, the staff are friendly, there are lots of exercise options, the wind and current are benign and there is a grocery store nearby.

Fort Pierce

Yesterday, the wind died around lunchtime so I pulled out the "iron genny" but then around nightfall they started coming from all directions instead of from behind like they were supposed to. Anyway,  I decided to put into Fort Pierce and anchor for the night.
I am the only one here and the boat is a mess because I was too tired last night to put the sails away. There were 5 black birds sitting around my boat that I had to growl at when I got up.
I am considering going across Lake Okeechobee over to the gulf Coast so I will ponder that over my morning cup of joe.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Running Backstays

One of the good things about getting together with fellow sailors, this past weekend was that I was reminded of lots of nautical details. One of these details included the importance of using running backstays. Running back stays connect to the mast at the same height as your stay sail so it supports the mast at that point. It can also help support the mast if the back stay were to fail.
I hadn't used them in several months so I dusted them off this morning and you can see it attached in the center of the photo. Recently a westsail was rescued by the Peruvian Coast Guard after one of the boomkin stays parted. The boomkin jammed up against the rudder so that it was impossible to steer the boat. Anyway the only reason why the mast didn't fall down was that he had his running backstays up.

Underway off the Space coast

A superb day for sailing as you can see from the photo.
The breeze is out of the west at about 8 knots and so I am reaching along at about 4 gentle knots. I was up at 4am this morning to catch the wind shift and tide out of Port Canaveral. I had a bit of a dilemma earlier when my Genoa halyard got caught in the mast steps and I had to climb the mast while underway. I have climbed up the mast plenty of times at a marina but only a few times while underway and it is not something that I like to do, especially when there is no one around. I did take my VHF radio up with me in a backpack just in case I got stuck. Anyway it all turned out ok.
The wind is supposed to die down this afternoon and then pick up again later on this afternoon to carry me southward all the way to the keys. Unlike my trip down from North Carolina,  this trip will be close to shore so that I stay out of the north flowing gulf stream.  As a result, I should have Internet coverage all the way and be not only able to check the weather closely but also be able to post to my blog.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Leaving Cape Canaveral for the Florida Keys

The wind has clocked around here at the Cape and so I will be heading south in the morning.  I hope to sail straight through to Marathon but there is some nasty weather forcast for Saturday,  so if I don't make it there by then, I will hunker down south of Miami.
Here is a photo of Onapua,  racing last Saturday at the westsail rendezvous here at the cape.
The other westsail 32 behind her is Froya belonging to James Mccomas who lives here at the cape. All boats are beautiful,  but Onapua is particularly so, don't you think?

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Video of my sail from North Carolina to Florida

I took some video clips of my sailing trip from Wrightsville Beach, through Southport, and then onto Cape Canaveral, stopping off on the way to refuel in Savannah. Enjoy

Friday, November 6, 2015

Bud Taplin and Dick Mills at the Westsail Rendezvous

I can't believe that I have a photo of both these icons together.
Bud Taplin is 83 and still going strong. He was the manager of the boatyard that built my 40 year old boat out in Casa Mesa in California. He can still supply any westsail part, brand new.
Dick Mills is also a westsail owner and he has probably the best sailing blog in existence  at


I am honored to have known these fine 2 gentlemen.

Arrived in Cape Canaveral for the westsail rendezvous

Some lessons learned on my week long sail from North Carolina. 
1. Always clip on when going on the bowsprit.
2. Always sit down when eating on a boat.
3. The gulf stream is closer than you think and getting caught in it can slow you down a lot.
4. When cruising,  count on motoring a lot more than you anticipate. 
5. If you haven't been on your boat for a while and you go sailing in rough weather, you will get seasick.
6. Lip balm, sunglasses and sun tan lotion is a must.
7. Always use the head on a boat, don't try the over the side thing.
8. When the boat is moving so much, it is very hard to do anything except sit and be amazed by mother nature. 

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Brief stop in Savanah to refuel

Stopped off at the Landings in Georgia and was greeted by a hot lunch, a pleasant staff and a shower! BRian was so nice and helpful.
Am facing some light winds but hopefully I will make it to Cape Canaveral in time for the Westsail Rendezvous this weekend.