Since 1978 I have been fortunate to sail wooden boats. In 2006 I set out to find a Drascombe Longboat Cruiser for single-handed expedition sailing. This is the continuing story of how it came to be, our adventures, notes on the maritime world and other things I don't want to forget...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

A New Path

Annie has gone through a few changes lately. When Terry and I got to Bokeelia to launch last month we noticed the the bumpkin was missing. I had seen it at the shop and assumed that it had been packed onboard before the trip. We fashioned a substitute using the boat hook and a piece of line tied with a loop as a turning 'block'. It worked suitably even in a 25 knot wind. I guess it was good that the mizzen is a small sail.

Boat hook deployed

When we returned there was no spar waiting for us at the shop. A real mystery. I have gone ahead and made a new one out of radiata pine. Yet to try out...

She also has a new cover that my friend Edward, our local sailmaker, made for me. It has snaps and a shot-weighted apron on the back to protect the transom varnish. No more plastic tarps disintegrating in the Florida sun.

Eleanor and I celebrated our 30th anniversary on the 12th. It coincidentally corresponded to our 'coming out' on the decision to move along. We will be listing our house in February and heading for Europe for an extended adventure. I will take Annie to North Carolina for storage and we plan to spend some time in Richmond, Virginia next year. I am excited about the possibility of sailing the Chesapeake. 

St. Augustine has been a great place to live. We met here in 1980...  Eleanor arriving from Mexico and I, aboard my Buchanan Spartan. We still have a lot to explore together.

December 11, 1980

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Clear and Burn

My friend Mel and I spent the day on Drayton Island. Since we had gotten needed rain we decided to re-clear the area along the river. Our land has 300 feet of river frontage that drops 20 feet to the shore. The river has been eroding along that stretch of pre-colonial shell midden for years. Large trees, both deciduous and palm are slowly dropping over the edge.

We took a chain saw and other tools over in Mel's Key West 17. The day was perfect ... clear and in the 70s. Since there was only a slight breeze we decided to burn the dry limbs and fronds that had been cut and left last year. We took a ride down island on the 4-wheeler and got home by dark. Still have to wait a day to see if the red bugs found us.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Wilderness Island

About eight years ago two groups of friends (including Eleanor and I) purchased contiguous property at the northwest corner of Drayton Island. The island sits in the St Johns River in a sparsely populated area of inland Florida. It is accessible by boat or a small, infrequent car ferry pushed across by an outboard-powered yawl boat. A few people have residences but for the most part 'full-timers' are deer, alligators, a few bald eagles and in the summer- ticks. Our scene is undeveloped and wild.

Drayton Island

Eleanor and I explore the shore by kayak

As late fall and winter bring cool weather Drayton becomes a great place to camp out and sail around. In years past we have had a lot of fun on the island and its time to go again...

Rafted up

Cypress along the Salt Spring Run

The grill is ready

Bluegrass in the smoke

Ferrying 'Becky Thacher- style'

Jack's camp

Oatmeal and coffee breakfast on a cold morning