Monthly Archives: May 2007

Good to Be Sailing

Good morning everyone. We had a great trip this weekend as Jim Dugan’s pictures show (Thanks Jim!). Of course the people made it. We are blessed with great guests and I can’t thank them enough for getting our season off to a great start. Mary’s friend Hank played some great fiddle tunes one evening. Jake, the assistant cook, is no slouch either and plays a mean dobro.

I have my repair list for the day, replace pressure switch in saltwater pump, fix that squeaky bunk in Cabin 1,find small fitting for hanging lamp, install equalization timer for 24 volt charger system. I could probably think of a few more. The details are endless. I think we call that job security.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Memorial Day

Good morning everyone. We have enjoyed two great days of sailing.
Saturday's sail was highlighted by one long tack up the bay.
Yesterday we enjoyed numerous tacks and a "man overboard" drill. The
crew did well and recovered the "victim" fender in jig time. Heaving
to (stopping forward progress) under sail is accomplished by backing
the headsails and easing the foresheet. I am delighted to see how
well the schooner is sailing. We have passed 9 knots on both days
beating to weather. And that ain't half bad.

We managed to get Mary and her friend Hank, an amazing fiddler, to
play some tunes for us Saturday night. Sawyer loves to hear the old
time fiddle tunes. His favorite is "Smash the Windows", perhaps more
for the title than the tune. My poor guitar is coming apart after
the long dry winter so I will need to get it in for repairs this next
week but I managed to follow along just the same.

Last night we feasted together on an old-fashioned turkey dinner.
The conversation was as warm as the candlelight. Great to see people
from all over the world enjoying each other. We had a couple from
Australia, two friends from Greece, a young woman from Canada, and
the usual amazing assortment of people from all over this beautiful
country. We had several couples celebrating anniversaries with us,
which we celebrated with one of Mary's delicious chocolate cakes,
home made ice cream on top. How sweet it is.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

We Sail Today

Good morning everyone. We sail on the tide today. The wind is light
NW this morning and the sun is shining bright. We had record
temperatures here yesterday and today looks to be quite warm as
well. It is a perfect day to go sailing!

Thanks to all of you who have been watching over us these past few
months. You encouragement has been wonderful. It takes a village to
raise a topmast and you have been as much a part of the process as we

Yesterday we went to visit with Mary Day herself to receive the
bronze medallion which graces the galley ice box each year. A piece
of Mary and Havilah Hawkins sails with us. And now the schooner
belongs to the guests and each of you who have been watching and
wishing us luck. We are just the care takers. The schooner belongs
to the village.

Have a great day. be well. Do good.

Ready to Sail

Good morning everyone. Here we go. We board guests today and sail tomorrow. The schooner is looking great. The crew put the finishing touches on yesterday. Ice was delivered. Provisions were brought aboard. Jake loaded 28 crates of firewood into the wood hold. The jib topsail, back from warranty work, was bent on to the foretopmast stay. And finally, the trail boards were mounted on the gammon knee at the bow, literally, “gilding the lily.”
Those trail boards have seen over one hundred thousand miles of water pass under them (about 132,000 by my calculation) and are still going. Every year we comment on how they are on their last legs. They are as much epoxy and wood filler as they are wood. Pieces of the gilded scrollwork have fallen off and been replaced. They won’t last forever we know. But we just keep nursing them along each year. Last fall we asked a carver friend for a quote to replace them. I guess you can see the answer for here they are again, massaged and painted and hung in their place of honor. They are beautiful and really complete the schooner. Those trail boards and I have a lot in common (except that they do a lot less pondering of belly button lint). Those trail boards and I are far from perfect. But we are part of the schooner and are heading out for another summer (my fifteenth aboard Mary Day and 25th along the Maine coast) exploring the bay and sharing with folks that come aboard.
I am not certain what will happen to the regularity of my mostly daily blogs at this point. I will do my best to keep you posted, pictures and all, as I am able. Technology will dictate the blog as we sail away from it all. Funny oxymoron there, huh. So be patient and stay tuned.
Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Inspection and Load Test

Good morning everyone. Sorry for the lapse these past few mornings. We passed our Coast Guard inspection with flying colors. The inspector remarked how well organized everything was and how beautiful the boat looked. Our homework these past few months paid off. The crew did a very good job demonstrating the new pumps. We will perform underway drills with the Coast Guard aboard sometime in the next few weeks.

With inspection done by early Monday afternoon we welcomed aboard our first guests, Sawyers classmates and their parents, for an overnight dockside adventure. What better load test for the schooner than a group of first graders. Some of you may well have felt the tremor in the noosphere. Excited is the word we parents use to convince ourselves that we have some control over the barely contained mayhem in front of us and that it really is not as bad as it looks. And we were worried about the Coast Guard. The kids had a blast, the parents and teacher got exhausted and the schooner survived with nary a scratch in the paint. The next morning we cooked blueberry pancakes on the wood stove and gave the kids a chance to climb in the rig. Little kids have no fear. Parents only fear little kids.

So we are putting the finishing touches on the schooner and there are a million details left, food to stow, wood for the cook stove, a few lines we need to re-lead, the jib topsail to bend on. The projects are never ending aboard any boat and we have all summer to pick away at them. By fall we should have the boat ready to put to bed.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

The Midnight Oil

Good morning everyone. The midnight oil has been burned. And the results are stunning. The schooner looks absolutely fantastic. The kids were fast asleep on the settees in the main cabin by the time we were putting the finishing touches on the main cabin. I can’t tell you enough how impressed I am by the crew and how hard they worked. Today is Coast Guard inspection and I think we are in good shape for that.

Jake Carey, our assistant executive chef de cuisine, arrived to find a schooner that by all outward appearances did not look too organized. By days end he had a uncorked the galley, washed all the dishes, washed all the utensils, helped raise topsails, organized the tools, and many other items. Sara, Becki, and Jen had bent on the staysail, fore and main topsails, and jib. The frustrating moment of the day for me was the discovery of a couple “iffy” seams in our 1-year-old jib topsail. Evidently the synthetic canvas is cut in to its appropriate widths with a hot knife. If the canvas is run through too quickly the selvage edge can be brittle. Our sail maker and next door neighbor, Brad Hunter of Gambell and Hunter Sails of Camden and Appleton, Maine returned my call immediately and will put the sail on the floor of his loft immediately. Now that is service.

Jim Dugan showed up again to help with topsails and lend greatly appreciated moral support and good cheer. They say it takes a village to raise and rig a topsail.

Sorry no pictures this morning. I am out of time and need to get down to the boat for drills and finishing touches.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Bending on Sails

Good morning everyone. Busy day here yesterday… again. Everyone is working incredibly hard to pull this boat together and we are well ahead of the curve. The boat looks great.

We started bending on sails yesterday and despite a very dismal forecast enjoyed a dry day with even a few breaks of sun. By days end we had installed the main and foresails. The cabin divas had worked their magic below decks, making up all the bunks and cleaning the cabins within an inch of their lives. The pump I mentioned yesterday was load tested and did an admirable job of moving water. Jen pulled together the first aid kits, gilded the trail boards, touched up the stern boards, varnished the oars, sorted and then drove the laundry to Camden, tended the kids, answered the phone and emails, put the finishing touches on our peapod Departure, and a few other things I am forgetting as well. They say that if you want to get something done give it to a busy man… well Jen could show any busy man a thing or two.

Even Jim Dugan, still healing from a wicked bout with meningitis, stopped by to lend a hand. Thanks Jim! But in the end it was the child that had the best idea of the day. Sawyer took Rosie out for a row around the harbor and enjoyed messing about in boats. Fisherman style, facing forwards, he pushed his way around the harbor. Needless to say this proud Papa was amazed that this kid, who hadn’t rowed since last summer, put to sea with no help whatsoever and disappeared to explore the harbor. The green oars in Sawyers hands are the very first pair of oars my folks gave to me when I was just a pup. How cool is that?

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Watery World

Good morning everyone. Well yesterday was what we call a “toad soaker”. It just poured so figuring that we were going to get wet anyway we played with water all day. We started the day priming and firing off the new fire/bilge pump installation. It worked like a charm. We have also brought aboard a small portable pump for increased capacity and helping other vessels. We discovered that it was a trick to get it primed but it did work well. We also discovered a leaky fuel gasket in this brand new pump and took it back to the local farm supply store who put it right onto the bench and made it right.

More great strides of progress occurred yesterday. The fresh water system was put into service with only one minor drip under Mary’s sink that was easily fixed with a twist of the wrench. I think that is the best I have ever done. I usually forget one valve or another and create a minor flood. OK engineers, grab your pocket protectors. The water is stored in 16 different small tanks ranging from 55 to 100 gallons in size separated by valves and distributed throughout the schooner so as to trim the vessel just right when they are full. Our total capacity is 1100 gallons and is fed to the small 24 volt pump. Gravity does some of the work but the pump is required to generate any pressure in the showers or sinks. I have a small flow meter in the system on the discharge side of the pump. It reads weekly usage as well as lifetime usage. According to this meter we use about 110 gallons per day while away from the dock. Last season we used a total of 10,400 gallons over about 126 days (Saturdays and Monday mornings skew the figures). The cook stove, Diamond, will come to life today now that her water jacket (the cast iron sleeve that makes all the domestic hot water) has what it needs to keep from overheating.

Today we start to bend on sails!

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

Using My Head

Good morning everyone. Seems like I was just here with you a few minutes ago. I am not sure what happened to yesterday but it vaporized and I am still not certain what it is we did. Mary placed some food orders in the morning. The crew and I did a few hours of training in the yawl boat and rowing. We practiced coming up alongside docks under power and oars. All of this training is a good break from painting and reinforces that we will be sailing soon. But don’t you worry, we did some painting yesterday as well so we are in good shape. We touched up where the spar stands sat upon the cabin houses and deck.

We are in for a good slug of rain today so we will head below decks to finish off a few details. I get to climb into the “engine room” where all the plumbing comes together behind the cook stove to get the fresh water system up and running. As I tell Mary, it is a bit of schooner yoga. Mary tells me it keeps me young. Grumble, grumble, sputter…says the captain. I often tell my crew that a Coast Guard license is not a ticket up the ladder but rather a ticket to the bilges. Nothing stops a cruise faster than a broken head. As our dear departed friend, the Major, always said about living in combat conditions, soldiers will go anywhere and do anything if they have a suitable place to relieve themselves. I can only take his word for it. My advice to guests and parents of little children, plan ahead and use the head before you head ashore.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.

A Good Quickie

Good morning everyone. So we have to keep the blog quick this morning. Jen has been up since 2 cranking out confirmation letters and balance paid letters. I was in the barn late welding, painting, and repairing trailboards. So we saw each other for a few minutes in between. Mary called from the schooner at 7 o’clock last nite having just finished painting the brown thresholds. These next few days are the last big push towards our Coast Guard inspection on Monday. Elisa Olds, our new reservationist is awesome. She has been slowly gathering speed in the office and painting as well. I kid her that her resume grows everyday, painter, rigger, plumber, bookkeeper, data base manager, logistics coordinator.

So bear with us and thanks for your patience. We will be sailing soon.

Have a great day. Be well. Do good.