Sailtime Storys by Bill Amt #5

Twenty years after my first ICW Experience

Are there yet more lessons to be learned?

Fog is not fun!

A passage from Daytona Beach to St Petersburg FL

St Lucie Canal/Okeechobee/Caloosahatchee/Gulf Coast ICW

For a few years I kept my boat in Daytona Beach.  While Daytona Beach offers Bike Week, NASCAR, a great beach with hard bodies, and the World Series of Softball, for a sailor the place has a big limitation.  St Augustine and Ponce Inlets offer the closest access to the Atlantic Ocean and in either direction several bascule bridges and an hour or two of motoring must be addressed before an inlet is reached.  So for several years Threshold was more of a floating condominium than a sailboat, and I stayed on board a couple days a week.

Orlando is centered between Daytona and Tampa/St Petersburg and I had debated both options heavily with the decision to put my name on the St Petersburg City Marina waiting list hoping for a slip to open.

My mother always admonished me, “be careful about what you ask for – you may get it” and true to form one day I received the unexpected telephone call from the St Petersburg City Marina, “you have a slip next month if you want it.”   Without out question this marina is one of the most appealing locations along the east coast; similar to ones in downtown Baltimore or in Miami and Ft Lauderdale’

Located in the refurbished sections of downtown St Petersburg one can enjoy the ambiance of a beautiful city and yet have a great bay or harbor to day-sail with little restriction – direct access to Tampa Bay and unrestricted access to the Gulf of Mexico.  So Threshold had only a month to get from Daytona to St […]

Sailtime Storys by Bill Amt #4

Twenty years after my first ICW Experience

Are there yet more lessons to be learned?

A passage from Baltimore MD to Norfolk VA

1999 once again gave me the opportunity to revisit the very first watery lesson that I had learned – a fool and his money soon part.  Another windfall bonus, a great Annapolis yacht broker, and a West Sail 32, which this time was a real “sail away’ package, all came together in the back yard of “Threshold’s owner.  I was commuting from Atlanta to Washington DC, and any reasonable pragmatist could see the economics of living on a sailboat at the Shem Creek Marina in Annapolis and traveling back home on the weekends.  Pretty doggone logical decision in my mind.  And, God forbid, should the job transfer me someplace else, good ol’ Threshold could easily move with me.  Sweet!

And this time I had charts and a monochromatic hand held Garmin GPS so getting from Baltimore to Shem Creek in Annapolis posed few navigational problems.  Only one bridge to pass – Shem Creek.  I picked up the boat at the local marina after the survey and paid for a fresh bottom job and with all of the confidence in the world, stepped into the cockpit, started the engine, cast off the lines and fifty yards later ran aground on the sand bark that the yard foreman had previously warned me about.

But Threshold was strong and had a powerful Perkins engine with a three blade prop and the twenty year old lessons learned from the ICW immediately returned to my mind. Simply turn the tiller full port, pointing the bow to what I thought to be deep water and gun the Perkins.  Thankfully, the marina had a little power boat with a tow line and […]

Bodhran heading back to the Water

NZ Haulout

Bodhran ready to go back in the water after a week’s haulout:

Well Bodhran is back in the water after a 10 day haulout. The biggest item on the project list was to reinforce the mast step. My mast had caused the deck to buckle ¼ of an inch around the mast, so I pulled the mast off, jacked up the deck, and had a bracket fabricated to reinforce the area and hopefully fix the problem. We also painted the hull, scoured the prop and coated it with Peller Clean (a silicon anti fouling for bronze), cleaned, buffed and waxed the topsides, repainted the shear stripe, removed all the caulk and rot from under the caprail and injected thickened epoxy to fill the voids.

Tiffany and I taking a break in the shade of Bodhran’s hull:

The new mast bracket on top of the compression post:

It was a pretty full 10 days. Fortunately for us, Christian and his boat Irie were in the yard. Christian is friends with Greg and Bonnie and Bob and Cary from back in Bellingham. He and his ex were caretakers out at Eliza Island before taking off across the Pacific. It was nice to have an extra hand in the yard, a person to bum tools and advice from. He also happens to have a van and very generously let us borrow it to make runs into town for parts, groceries and beers. He also got us out one night to Tutukaka to visit Rick on Guava Jelly and play some music before Rick had to fly back to Seattle for the Winter. Distraction was also provided by Arek and Iwona who drove up from Orewa and took us up to explore the area north of the Bay of […]

Sailtime Storys by Bill Amt #3

A Beginners Sailor’s Lessons Learned

Another dozen or so lessons learned

A passage from Charleston SC to St Augustine FL

On March 15, 1979 I prepared for my first trip in S/V Paramour.

Unexpectedly a new job required us to relocate from Charleston SC to Jacksonville FL and the S/V Paramour and I could not stand a hundred and sixty miles separation.  So the decision – off shore or ICW –  had to be made and a new St Augustine marina just under construction was selected to become Paramour’s new home.

And, the one hundred sixty miles to be traveled? I will admit it today. I did get a quote to truck the boat to Jacksonville.  But once my now ex-wife saw the quote; I quickly reconsidered that thought.  After all, as she put it to me, was I not prepared and confident enough to move the boat myself?  Obviously that answer had to be yes – although quite privately, I had never looked at any chart outside of the one I had for the Charleston Harbor.  And despite all of the weekend harbor sailing, I had never actually passed between the Charleston Harbor’s jetties, and I had no clue where the ICW entered or exited the Charleston Harbor.  But I did know a lot of stuff.  I mean, after all, it is red right returning – right? – But, does that mean right retuning to the sea or from the sea?  Day beacons, mile markers, bridges, currents and tides?  Well all can be learned just as I had learned about anchoring a few months ago.

Thankfully, my nervous marina neighbor next to me was a reasonable man and a good listener and offered a couple of suggestions, after hearing that I planned to single […]

3rd installment on finishing Windsong

In my time off I have been busy stripping and sanding various pieces of woodwork from the boat. I spend a few hours a day working on it and have developed a good rhythm and process to prepare the woodwork for varnishing. I ordered some Interlux Compass and Goldspar Satin varnish and will begin to apply them this week. As you can see below, I have a box full of cabinet doors, trim, all 3 doors and a few other random pieces already done. I went back to the boat this weekend with my friend Jeff to gather more wood, as I had finished prepping all the wood I had. We have pretty much completely removed all wooden pieces from the v-berth and I can start to feel the progress.

Stripped and sanded wood, ready for varnishing:

The v-berth, mid wood removal. You can also see that I’ve removed all of the headliner as well:

This past weekend I also sealed up the portlights (windows) with some silicon sealant. This is a temporary measure to eliminate leaks until I start to remove and replace everything. All of the windows leak so something needed to be done until I could replace them.

So this week I have quite a bit more wood to strip and sand, but will also start the varnishing. I am excited to see some finished product after all of the hours I’ve put into the woodwork. A lot of the pieces will need to be re-installed on the boat before I can finish them, as they need to have bungs (wooden plugs to hide the screws) installed before finishing.

I also cleaned up and tested out the 9.5 foot Achilles dinghy that came with the boat. It isn’t pretty, it’s quite ugly in […]