April 16, 2017: Our canoe’s first trip

In the summer of 2016, we bought a canoe kit from Chesapeake Light Craft. Over the past 9 months, my husband and the kids stitched, glued, sanded, varnished, and painted what became a shiny, red, wooden canoe.

canoe on car

Today, Easter, we tied it to the roof rack, drove the 30 minutes to Claytor Lake, and launched it. There were white caps in the lake — it was quite windy — so it wasn’t really a great day for canoeing, but we wanted to try it anyway.
Continue reading “April 16, 2017: Our canoe’s first trip”

Tying knots on the plane

Since it’s winter, and we’re not sailing, the closest I can get to being on a boat is to read novels that feature sailboats, build upper body strength for when we can actually sail, and practice tying knots.

On a flight to Boston last night, I used the What Knot To Do app to get familiar with a few boating knots. Before leaving on the trip I had tried using the instructions in The Complete Book of Sailing Knots, but the illustrations apparently did not match the way my brain needed to see the knot instructions, and I couldn’t follow the steps.

The What Knot To Do steps worked really well for me, though, and I practiced the bowline, anchor bend, clove hitch, and my favorite, the highwayman’s knot.

I keep a length of line in my laptop bag now (really it’s just a sweatshirt hoodie string) so I can keep practicing. I tied knots for about 20 minutes on the plane, and I’m not sure I could do any of them again right now. So much to learn!

Recommended apps from Capts. Bill and Sara

Navionics — online charts. Get the US/Canada combo if there’s any chance we’d be boating in Canada since it’s not possible to just add-on Canada, you have to repurchase the whole bundle. Fee-based.

What knot to do — knot instruction from Columbia Sportswear. Categorized by sport, so there’s a sailing category. The reef knot is in camping, fyi. Free app.

My Radar Pro from NOAA  — great for locating storms; can set alerts for if there is precipitation or lightning within a certain radius. Fee-based to get the pro version.

December 29, 2016: Day Two of Sailing 101

Boat: Chomsky, Catalina 22
Location: Sarasota Bay, Sarasota, FL
Sailing Course: ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing
Wind: light in AM; 5-7 knots in afternoon.

sailing-101-day-2-florida-keelboatWe expected wind this morning, and for it to strengthen throughout the day as a front moved through. When we arrived at the dock, the wind was flat. We spent some time in the office with Captain Sara going over points of sail and rules of the road, then motored out again like we did yesterday. We visited another boat at anchor, this time friends of Captain Sara, then motored through a mangrove-lined canal to get to a marina to fill the gas tank.

By 11am, there still was no wind, so we Continue reading “December 29, 2016: Day Two of Sailing 101”

December 28, 2016: Day One of Sailing 101

Boat: Chomsky, Catalina 22
Location: Sarasota Bay, Sarasota, FL
Sailing Course: ASA 101, Basic Keelboat Sailing
Wind: light in AM; 7-10 knots in afternoon.

view-from-sara-bay-sailingFirst day of sailing 101, with Captain Bill of Sara-Bay Sailing. We arrived to the dock at 9:30 am, and went up to the office to work on land instruction for an hour or so. There was no wind in the morning, and after tying knots in the office, we departed under power in a Catalina 22. In the channel we saw a manatee Continue reading “December 28, 2016: Day One of Sailing 101”