Soft Spots – A Quick Fix

So Lynne Marie has a couple soft spots due to some delamination on her forward deck. I should say had, since I’ve mostly fixed them now, just need to do a bit of sanding and paint to finish the job. The simplest way to fix minor soft spot on a deck is to drill holes and inject thickened epoxy. I used West Systems 610 self mixing cartridges which made the process exponentially easier – no mixing, low mess, no catastrophic mixing failures! They are a bit harder on the budget, but for small jobs in my opinion they’re totally worth every time saving penny. I used them when installing my ports as well and can attest to their no slump, no drip, can be used overhead claims – its a great product in my book.

Materials need; 610 Epoxy Cartridges, Caulking Gun, Drill, Squeegee, Acetone

Materials need; 610 Epoxy Cartridges, Caulking Gun, Drill, Squeegee, Acetone

Overview of deck, at this point I had already filled port side and was getting ready to start on starboard.

Overview of deck, at this point I had already filled port side and was getting ready to start on starboard.

Pile of goo a good sign that area's filled :)

Pile of goo a good sign that area’s filled 🙂

So here’s the process in case any of you ever need to inject a deck. Drill holes in soft areas of deck, being careful to only drill through the first layer of fiberglass and not punch right on through the bottom layer. I could tell right away that the interior of my deck was not damp rotting wood because my drill was spitting out nice dry shavings – good news! Now for injecting, load up the 610 epoxy into a high thrust caulking gun (any caulking gun will work but I learned on my ports to spring the extra $12 for the sake of not crippling my hands) fit tip down into hole in the deck so that tip seals and begin injecting. Squeeze in a good amount give it a moment to settle, pull the tip out, if the goo does not begin to rise back out of the hole keep injecting there’s more space there to fill. Now pull your mind out of the gutter. 😉 You’ll know once the deck won’t take anymore in that spot when the goo starts backing its self out of the hole making an epoxy pile on the deck. I tried to start in the center of the biggest area and work my way out to the edges, and I did one side of my deck at a time. Use a squeegee to clean up excess epoxy on deck, and acetone to wipe off the stickiness around the holes and more than likely off your hands too. That’s pretty much it! Make sure you have zero chance of rain and let that goo do it’s thing. Revisit the next day to make sure everything is firmed up and repeat process anywhere that’s still soft. All an all about a 20 minute project. Talk about easy.

I used to Sail….

Walking a sunfish over a sandbar in salt run the summer a taught youth sailing.

Walking a sunfish over a sandbar in salt run the summer a taught youth sailing.

In the past my days were filled with salt air and sunshine, sails billowed overhead, and waves rustled past below, I sailed a lot, at any given opportunity to be exact. Then I bought a boat and well…. I can probably count the number of times I’ve actually been out sailing in the past year on my fingertips. It seems, at times, that boats are all work and no play. I feel my self-growing weary of this, and I know a day off shore in the big old blue is just what I need to revive my soul. But I’m a full days trip from the ocean, so I’ll have to settle for a bit of river sailing next weekend. Which will still be fun especially since I should be shaking out my new mainsail – fingers crossed it arrives in time. I had a skipper ask me to crew in a woman’s race this weekend and regrettably had to turn her down since I’ll already be out of town – lately they only ever ask when I’m not here, how do they know! I’ll be high and dry this weekend, rabbling up on the Suwannee River, listening to some fine musicians and in the company of great friends, can’t complain about that. Except on top of having to turn down a J-race I’ll also be missing out on a local marina flea market that only happens once a year…. I need 3 of me.

So much to do, so little time to squeeze it all in over the next 12 weeks before my departure. It gets stressful at moments, so I close my eyes, I see the sails up there, hear the water down there, feel the sun on my face – it’s my past and my future as long as I keep it together here in the present.

Here’s a little collection of photos from my sailing days past. They are quite literally the wind in my sails, keeping my heart in balance through all these waves of change, little reminders of why I do the things I do.

Rigging up my catamaran for a sail on the Banana River

Rigging up my catamaran for a sail on the Banana River

 

Beached while we explore the Mangrove shallows of the Thousand Islands

Beached while we explore the Mangrove shallows of the Thousand Islands

 

Offshore @ CCYC Mermaid Regatta  - I'm Flying the Spin

Offshore @ CCYC Mermaid Regatta – I’m Flying the Spin

We Won! - The only winning crew I've ever been a part of :)

We Won! – The only winning crew I’ve ever been a part of 🙂

 

Racing 420's at the MYC Spring Regatta

Racing 420’s at the MYC Spring Regatta

 

...some other MYC Regatta - Defiantly a cruising class race there much more my speed :)

…some other MYC Regatta – Defiantly a cruising class race there much more my speed 🙂

One of the First long 20 mile days I sailed aboard my boat.

One of the First long 20 mile days I sailed aboard my boat.

Anchored out in the river on a fall afternoon.

Anchored out in the river on a fall afternoon.

 

Currently my last time out - Sail going up on a 40 ft Catamaran I chartered for my best friend Bachelorette last month

Currently my last time out – Sail going up on a 40 ft catamaran I chartered for my best friend Bachelorette last month

 

A fun day out on Paramour with Racheal

A fun day out on Paramour with Racheal

 

Ok so its not a sailboat but it was an awesome day offshore and a stellar birthday catch!

Ok so its not a sailboat but it was an awesome day offshore and a stellar birthday catch!

New Friends at FLA Fish

Luers
So I recently made a new friend who owns the website flafish.com. After he saw my site here he asked if I’d be interested in writing some wild life articles for FLA Fish, I said I would, and my first article is up. You can go check it out here: www.flafish.com

The article is about the Lionfish invasion of the Caribbean, a subject I am now much more educated about. I have to say, the research I did for this really got my wheels turning, how can I help? The article is written and done with but my research hasn’t stopped. I’ve reached out to a couple organization that are complying information in an effort to gain more knowledge about how I may be able to support Lionfish research while I’m cruising in the Bahamas this summer. I’ve already herd back from REEF who has encouraged me to attend a free Lionfish Collecting and Handling Workshop they’re hosting in April 5th on Key Largo. Key Largo’s a bit of a trek for me so I’m not sure if I’ll be able to make it but I certainly hope I can. I’m anxious to learn more about this this invasive fish, and to get some hands on experience catching and filet these bad boys. Here’s hopping that I’ll be seeing of these suckers on my dinner plate soon 🙂

River City Challenge

RCC_Poster_2013_WEB

Here’s one of those projects I’ve been working on recently.  The awesome folks of River City Challenge in Jacksonville called me again this year to help them out with their poster. I’m pretty pleased with the way it turned out and I’m hoping I might even get to see it in physical form this year! Fingers crossed I can make it to Jacksonville for the festivities in April, only time will tell. I was definitely happy to help these folks out with such a great event that supports the North Florida Land Trust. Our rivers, estuaries and mangrove forest are so vital to the health of our waters and coast here in Florida, it feels great to help support a non-profit that’s all about protecting them! It’s going to be a fun event whether your a competitive paddler or not.  There will be good music, art, knowledge and beer a flowing, so if your in the Jacksonville area be sure to check it out! You can visit thier web page for more details www.rivercitychallenge.org

Happy paddling to all you competitors out there 🙂

Time the Slipperiest Fish of All

 

FishIt feels like time has been accelerated to supersonic speeds and is in limited supply these days.  Man-o-Man has there been a lot going on and it seems like I’m still gaining momentum.  Some days I want to release the main sheet, throw the tiller and round up to a complete stop just to catch my breath! But no, I’m holding fast I’m going to need every bit of that momentum to get me off the dock this summer. Goals have been set, routes charted, and the winds of changes are picking up. Abacos is word for the summer and with just 16 weeks left for preparation, planning, and completing projects my to-do list seems never ending.  That’s some how frightening and exhilarating all in the same moment. All these things I’ve been seeking, all the dreams I’ve been dreaming, all culminating. Now all that’s left is the foot work and I know I can take care of that. So stayed tuned friends I’ll be sharing a lot of new things here, updates on boat projects, trip planning, various art work, photography and design pieces I’ve been working on, and even some writing I’ve started doing for another web site.  It’s all going to be a lot to keep up with but I’m determined to stick to my goals one of which is to share here more often!

Trece Amigas, Sisters of the Sea

From left; Sista Rachael, Jes-sea Rae, and me in Panama 2011

I don’t have any sisters by blood, but this life has provided me with a beautiful bouquet of amazing woman though out the years.  These are ladies who’ve gone beyond friends. Who’ve shown up at just the right moments to share and experience the current with me, there to help steer, encourage, and inspire.  They are the gals with whom I’ve shared my deepest thoughts, giggles, and awe-mazing moments.  And they have shared their, wisdom, love, families, and beautiful presence with me.  They are all exceptional in their own ways, you all know who you are, please know you are very much loved and appreciated by me.

This particular post is about just two of these ladies, Jes-sea Rae and Sista Rachael my sailing soul sisters if you will.  They have already been mentioned here and will un-doughtily be mentioned quite often so I figure I should give them a proper introduction.  Jessie Rae or Jes-sea as I like to spell it, is a Floridian Eskimo. Sounds like an oxymoron but it’s true, her mother’s full blood Inuit and her fathers a Florida boy. No wonder she’s a master fisherwoman who’s got a green thumb that’d make a bird of paradise bloom in the desert. Girl walks around with herbs stuffed in her pockets, a braid always in her hair and her eyes on constant observer mode.  On land or sea at she knows how to fashion a meal and some basic comforts with whatever she’s got. As a sailor she’s got more miles under her keel than most sailors I know, our age or not.  She spent about three years hopping from boat to boat, crewing deliveries, gaining certifications and a whole lot of experience along the way. The girl’s sailed all over the Caribbean, the Atlantic, both American and European sides as well as a-crossed the pond, she has made it as far as Madagascar on her ventures.  It’s not surprising that when I randomly met her just weeks after I began sailing I was instantly captivated by her.  At the time we met she had just returned to St. Augustine after her 3-years adrift and was laying plans to go to England to get her Yacht Masters certification.  I was determined to soak up as much knowledge and influence as I possibly could before she left. Luckily she didn’t mind, she liked my enthusiasm and we became quick friends. A week later she introduced me to her friend, Rachael.

Known throughout Jacks Beach and St. Augustine as Sista Rachael for her Reggae singing, long blond dreads, and sultry attitude this girl’s a whole lot more than just a soulful voice and a fine behind.  Girl’s got the kind of brains and raw energy that makes the seemingly impossible plausible. I’m talking all kinds of smart, book smart, street smart, I’m overachieving before I’ve had my coffee smart.  There’s something about Rachael, some would call it luck some would call it charm, me, I think she may just be magic.  She’s got a way of finding the most amazingly beneficial, but completely unheard of situations.  Case in point for the last year plus Rachael’s been “managing” Paramour a 38 ft. West Wind Vagabond sailboat.  Through a series of curious events this boat pretty much landed right in her lab.  I will have to tell the tail of Paramour at another time, it is interesting and full of strange one-thing leads to another events.  Now Paramour is not hers, but she is welcome to live aboard it, to sail it whenever she likes, in exchange for maintaining the boat, not at her expense but at the owners.  Basically  she has a big beautiful blue water boat to play around and learn on at no expense to her self, oh yea and a place to live rent-free.  See what I mean? Of course this won’t last forever Paramour is for sale but I’m sure by the time that bridge falls into the sea Rachael will be half way across her next unimaginably bridge that appeared as soon as needed.

Now the three of us don’t get together often, distance, busy schedules, all the details of life keep us warped up in our own worlds. But in the fleeting moments in which our paths do intercept there is such an intense energy of joy, confidence, camaraderie, and love it feels as if we’re some unstoppable force capable of anything. And while we’re not always sailing, jumping ship, commandeering dinghies, washing up on tropical islands, sneaking into places we wish were free, slaying fish or drinking out of coconuts it always feels like an adventure when we’re together.  Even when all we conquer is a bottle of rum and a silent night, our laughter and song ringing out for all to hear.

 We are Trece Amigas, sailing sisters three, the only lasses ever known to be saltier than the sea.

Beginnings

In the beginning, there were ripping tides, J boats rides, a beautiful bay front, a watchful lighthouse, full moon cruises, a roaring inlet, oh so much Bush beer, and these guys….

It all started in St. Augustine when a co-worker asked me if I’d ever been sailing.

“No” I told him,

“We should go sometime, I could teach you” he said

“Yeah?! let’s go!”

“I’m serious.” he said

“So am I!”

That was that, by the end of the week I found myself at the helm of a J-24, my life forever changed. It’s hard  to explain, the experience I had when I first felt the sails fill, the boat tune in, slicing forward through the water only the sounds of birds and the wind in my ears. I can’t tell you why it was so much more than just sailing a boat. It was a great AAH Ha moment, a real stars aligning, treasure finding, mind melting realization of a moment.  I think it may have been the single most insanely clarifying moment of my life; I didn’t know the first thing about sailing or sailboats, but in that instant I knew it was for me.

The year that followed was full of sailing and I couldn’t get enough. I was extremely lucky to have a group of friends who always wanted to get out, one of which had regular access to a J-24, a Catalina 30 and a Cape Dory 22.  We started racing the J-24 in the yacht clubs Wednesday night “Beer Can” races. We took night cruises on the Catalina whenever the moon was full, we sailed to our hearts content, in the river, out the inlet, offshore, whatever the weather was good for. I learned a lot rapidly, and at the end of the summer 4 of us who had all been learning together took a basic keel boat certification course.  The biggest benefit of the course? I could now talk the talk. I had already acquired most of my basic skills from my time on the water, but I was lacking in my vocabulary, I wasn’t fluent in sailor speak. Suddenly I was able to communicate about this new passion and I started tearing through sailing literature with new understanding.  The books inspired me further, growing my love, all I wanted to do was get on a sailboat and be able to keep going, no turning back!

Awe the frustrations of being a dreamer.  Life of course was still happening all around me and as much as wanted to just cast off all ties and sail away I had things to take care of before I could make that happen. I finished college and hung around St. Augustine awhile longer. I had an amazing summer teaching kids how to sail on Opti’s and Sunfish . Then the hunt for the “real job” began, but while I hunted a “real job,” I also started hunting sailboats. I didn’t know were my job hunt would lead, but I knew that a coastal city was as mandatory as finding the job. I had a plan to get my hands on a sailboat just as fast as I possibly could.