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...

Sunday, February 19, 2017


Spar-making is going along real well. Have been making the "commute" to John and Vera's. They are on a trip to Texas and I am alone to progress. Shaped the main halyard sheave with files and coarse paper by making an axle out of a threaded bolt and locking nuts, then chucking in the drill press. Drilled through the mast and with a few adjustments to the rectangular hole... she spun freely.

The mast band that carries the shrouds and jib wire/forestay required a rabbet around the top of the mast and the tabernacle bolt hole was oversized to accept a pivot bushing. John had shaped a white oak crook into two gaff throat sides and I inset them into the gaff end. With all the tooling complete, the spars got sanded again.

Yesterday I returned and flow coated with WEST thinned with acetone. This, hopefully will penetrate the soft spruce and protect the varnish surface from inevitable dings and discoloring. This morning they were dry and ready for sanding in the near future.

Forging ahead... slowly.

Someday soon

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Pheonix from the Ashes

What a month. The insurance issues settled and they made out the best. Due to the language that stated that our homeowners policy would not cover the out structure harboring a painting business, we got zip for removing and rebuilding the studio/workshop. They did pay for a portion of the contents and $1000 for the boat spars, sails, rigging and cushions. So... read your policies, get extra boat insurance, and be careful. Shit happens... in the middle of the night.

I got bids and proceeded with having the building and debris removed. After 6 weeks we were very happy to have it taken away. We salvaged as much as possible including a number of tools that were worth cleaning up. Eleanor helped me rebuild the fence and we feel a bit less exposed.

Annie's spars were charred but useful in taking measurements. Gathering up info and pieces I headed to Urbanna where John and I interpolated the info and set to work. John had Sitka spruce from way back and laminated it up for the two masts. The burnt main mast was trimmed down and recycled for the gaff. After he cut the tapers I set out planing both with a power planer and a bench plane. Before long the floor was deep in shavings, the cold shop air full of wood scent, and I was happy again.

My new friend Andy from Virginia Beach generously gave me an old set of Longboat sails. With a little alteration they will fit the new spars and give Annie wings until I can afford new ones.

My bivouac studio in a spare bedroom is working out. I have a large deadrise painting on the easel and have made progress on the Wanderer slave ship exhibit design for Jekyll Island, Georgia. More on that later.

We plan to build the studio back in the spring/early summer. I need to set aside a few weekends and share the dates with friends that want to join the work party. Will get that done this week.

All and all life is good and the winter mild. The one big snow brought ten inches of powder and was gone in a few days. Tomorrow it will be in the low 70s. Perfect.