Tag Archives: sailboat

In Florida Aboard Mary T

From afar, I saw my friend Angie as tough, responsible, capable, and knowledgable. I’ve only known her online, and so I also saw her as helpful, as she’d swoop in and be able to describe just about anything mechanical to an online friend in need. I’ve been watching her progress down the eastern seaboard with some wins and some tough times alike, but making pretty good time, and having a good time doing it.

Stop #2, #logan #airport #travel

It was a no-brainer last week when she lost her crew and sent up an internet flare. I don’t know what it was, but I felt personally called to come meet Angie in Florida and help her as crew to the Bahamas. I was going to take one of her classes… someday. Save up the fair going rate (tough for a gal like me) and take all female class with her in the Chesapeake. Hell, this way, I’d get to cross the Gulf Stream with her and soak up all that info in real life! I looked up tickets. She said, “WAHOO!”

Crewing was never going to happen at a time when it was convenient for me. I’ve been reading about opportunities here and there, and all of them normally want you to arrive within a week or two. One by one they fell away, with either the expenses being too great or the timeframe being too tight.

It was a lot of hemming and hawing, really. Excuses. But this? This was too much goodness to let pass by. I arrived earlier this week, four days after seeing Angie’s virtual flare, and I’ve been able to enjoy some warm weather during the coldest days this winter.

The anchorage where we're at. Public park in the foreground, Intracoastal waterway to the left. #sailing #cruising #ICW #Florida

Lake Worth is kind of odd to me, but warm with clear, clean water. Sprawly and difficult to enjoy without a car, but there is a large, free municipal beach and a close-by grocery store.

Yes please to that jaunty little house #boat. #lakeworth #Florida #travel

I think the best part so far has been meeting Angie in person, though. You don’t really see people in three dimensions when you just know them online, with their voices and the way they move about the world. But they are three dimensional, and complicated, and whole. Things you can’t see online: her thick Tennessee accent, her hospitality, her love of chicken prepared any which way, and her special talent of making people around her feel capable and confident.

Seriously. Chickens fear her.

As we make our way through the Bahamas, or shortly thereafter, I hope to write about and share photos of our adventures.

Perfection in a front yard. #palmbeach #Florida #travel #walking

Holy Carp, I Made Something

That’s right, I made a cushion cover. Our old one was beat, but we still had the foam part which floats just fine. I picked a couple of cheerful colors and BAM! Jaunty new cushion cover. Of course, these photos are like the “magic of television” type cooking shows from the 80s that would leave out all the bad trial runs and the mistakes and give you a beautiful reveal at the end that’ll leave you thinking it was real easy. It totally wasn’t. It took me the better part of two days’ class time, which is embarrassing to say, but only a little bit.

I made a cushion cover with piping and everything! The first thing I've ever sewn. #sewing #beginner #woodenboatschool #diy

I’m really new at all this, and I’m enjoying that squirming, uncomfortable feeling that you get when you’re learning something new. There’s danger in it. There’s wasted time and wasted material. There’s seam-ripping and surprise. There are multiple attempts. There are slow starts.

Some people who really hate learning don’t relish that discomfort, and that’s probably the only thing between them and that thing they’d really like to do. But think of the stuff that could hold you up from doing! (How to speak a new language, how to play a new instrument, how to bake that complicated cake, how to navigate a new city.)

If I have only a couple of talents, they are these two things: I enjoy the discomfort of newness and I enjoy the journey as much as I enjoy the place I’m trying to get to. Are those talents or attitudes? Well, I’d hate to think that anyone would willingly adopt an attitude that would make them miserable most of the time, so let’s call them talents. Talents that could be learned.

Here are some photos of the process and our great space, but just a few.

Working on my piping.

My zipper panel and the cushion top, ready to attach.

Oh man, that thin is ready to turn right side out so I can see the magic!

James working in "the pit" with the machine named "Robin." #sailing #sailloft #diy #woodenboatschool

John at his beautiful old machine, Ann in the background working on her beautiful flowery cushions.

Oh heck, it’s Woodenboat School. One more photo. Here’s a picture of a wooden boat on campus.

ELATER out of the water for the season. #woodenboat #beetlecat #catboat #sailing

What Sailing Sounds Like: Lord Huron

Beautiful visions of wandering and wide open sounds… Lord Huron has a sound that melts me every time. “Ends of the Earth” pulls every heartstring of mine. “Out there’s a land that time don’t command, wanna be the first to arrive…”

Rolling echoes of delay pedals, light jangley guitar, a smooth croon, and airy sentiments of living forever. Lord Huron’s “Man Who Lives Forever” is a song that sounds like sailing to me. I hear it in my head sometimes when I’m at the helm.

Catch their entire NPR Tiny Desk Concert in this video. They’re great live:

Dear Portsmouth,

To approach you by water is to know you.

It is literally thousands of times that I’ve come and gone from Kittery and Portsmouth. Normally by car, and normally unceremoniously, the roads there are conduits that have brought me to friends’ houses, parties, work and the same old pubs I’ve been frequenting since my early 20s. By walking to the market and other places, I was able to see the town in a new light. I was also able to feel the absence of the Memorial Bridge in a big way, not just for the inconvenience of having to take a shuttle rather than walk, but literally when we were in the harbor on the boat there was a big hole in the landscape.

To enter the harbor, fearing but using its current to my advantage, seeing the Whaleback Light from the water rather than from the state park, and using navigational buoys that have been bobbing there despite my previous acknowledgement of them- these were new surprises in an old place.

Naval prison

The Naval prison.

The highlight of our week in Portsmouth was the extreme generosity of our hosts, friends who offered us a mooring, then a dock, then their amazing outdoor shower, their laundry machines, and even some harvest from their garden. For the first time ever, Mimi Rose was ¬†using shore power, and so we were doing really nutty things like turning on two lightbulbs at the same time. POSH! This is the hospitality we’ve found an abundance of when we meet boat people. We pay it forward in kind, too.

Colin enjoying the shower:

Sweet outdoor shower


Our great space on the dock!

Because of our time at the dock and the ease with which we could come and go from the boat, many of my friends and family were finally able to see where I live. I’ve been about 4 hours away by car for the last year or so, and while pictures of the boat on the internet are all well and good, I think everyone finally got a sense of the sort of adventure we’re embarking on when they saw Mimi Rose in person. Eight tons of reasonable comfort, enforced simplicity and beautiful woodwork. That tells you something, or at least, puts it in perspective.

Breana Making a salad

Breana making us food.

Colin and Jo

Josephine and Colin during a shindig.

Afternoon sail

Lori and Patrick on a daysail with us.

Molloy n' me

Me and my dearest Erin.

Things to Pass On to My Fellow Seacoasters

I would suggest that my friends put their shoes to pavement as soon as they can and see this joint for what it really is. I hope they walk around and take a good look at the monuments they normally fly by. I read bronze plaques that commemorated random but formative events for the seacoast. They’re fascinating. They’re treasure.

WWI memorial in Kittery

I would also suggest, after having beautiful garden-grown food, that everyone take advantage of the small pieces of land they have and share the bounty. Were I still there, I think I’d be coordinating with my neighbors to grow particular things and to pitch in on seed costs for a whole other group of crops in my neighbors’ or friends’ gardens. In other words, there are so many great people in your area who love to socialize and eat, I think all y’all should have co-ops.

Spring rolls

Things to Pass On to Visitors of Portsmouth

The currents in the Piscataqua River are intense. The fear of them is driven into the kids who grow up there, as many inexperienced boaters and unwitting swimmers have been washed out to sea or carried up the river in dangerous situations. Your awareness of it and respect for it is all you need. Your wise decisions will make your visit there pleasant. Here’s a video about tucking into the edges of the river and using eddies to your advantage:

I strongly suggest a visit to a few of my favorite places. The Black Birch in Kittery, The Portsmouth Brewery, The Press Room, and The Coat of Arms are all great places for food and drink. The staff are friendly, the atmosphere in each place is distinctively local. Tell them Anne sent you. Oh, and at The Black Birch, you should just order ALL THE DESERTS like we did.

We'll take all the deserts.

Be sure to see the cemeteries around town. There’s a lot of history to be had there, and it’s free entertainment. Consider them outdoor museums and art galleries- at their heart they’re a little of both and I’m proud to say that there are beautiful, rare examples of carvings.

I suppose I’ve missed something. Any questions about Portsmouth? Do let me know.

You could just really look at this picture of my dad mixing me a Mai Tai aboard the boat I live on, and maybe if you think of all that, the loveliness of it, then you’ll have just a taste of the great social and decisive coincidences of my life culminating into this most fantastic week. Cheers!

Dad mixing drinks aboard Mimi Rose