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News from the Dawn Treader

September 2017 Hurricane Edition

The big news for September was the hurricanes Harvey and Irma that devastated the Gulf Coast and Caribbean Islands. Two of the islands we visited, Saint Thomas and Tortola, were almost totally destroyed. Several of our friends in Texas lost much as well. A number of our sailor friends in Texas and Florida lost their boats and the Keys are almost totally destroyed.
Our losses were minimal in comparison but could have been much worse. We got lucky. We made some final improvements to the boat before it started, more about that later.After Harvey hit Irma headed towards Florida. A week before it actually hit the weather forecast was all over the place. Early predictions had Irma striking Cuba and turning to travel up the East Coast.
We based our decision to stay with our boat on that model. 3 days before it hit Cuba we started preparing Dawn Treader and ourselves for the onslaught. Even though the on board water tank was full we bought extra drinking water. (photo 7) We removed all the sails, canvas tarps and tied down all the rigging and boom.(Photos 1-2 and 10) Also everything that could move was put in the storage shed. (Photo 8) The day before we used the dinghy to set a stern anchor and our main CQR anchor (it looks like a small plow) out in the channel on the port side to take stress off the dock. The stern anchor was to make sure we did not drift into the derelict boat off our bow. (Photos 4-5) At this point the weather people were predicting only about 70 mph winds in our area. We took down our antenna placed it and the dinghy in the storage shed.
We were connected to internet and followed the news. Things changed when Irma turned and instead headed up the Gulf Coast!Still we were only expecting 70 mph but it was still a Category 5 across the Keys.
Again Irma changed its path when it made landfall near Fort Myers taking on Marco Island, Captiva, and Sanibel. That’s about when things turned nasty for us. Irma headed inland and crossed Highway 80 towards Sebring which put us directly in the path of the Eye Wall. (Photos 14-17) It was too late to change so we held on and waited. Surprisingly we had power and internet until just before the eye crossed our position. Thankfully Irma dissipated to Category 2 but was still way more than predicted.
We knew it was going to be horrendous but could only hope for the best. Instead of the 45 minutes the news caster predicted it lasted for about an hour and a half. During that time the boat was literally slammed into the dock propelled by 110 mph winds. The port anchor may have helped but it did not feel like much. We had placed to tyres on the dock just before it hit, because one of the fenders wore a hole and deflated. It was a good thing we did as several times the gunnel went below the dock level and would have torn the deck seam had they not been there. We could only watch from our port light (window) and hope. This went on for an hour and every time it hit we felt it through our bodies. It was like the boat and I were connected to the pain. During the most severe stage I formulated and reformulated an escape plan in case either the dock or the boat’s hull started to break apart. I had even considered having us go on shore somehow and stay in our Volkswagen Van. Good thing we did not try as the top had been ripped off.(Photos 21-22) Finally the winds died but the tail continued until about 0330 but Dawn and I tried to get some rest. Gusts would still hit Dawn Treader and she would vibrate and shake all the way even to the top of the mast. Again every time one would hit I felt it. About 1100 hours we plugged into the inverter to keep the refrigerator and internet working. About 0330 total exhaustion hit and fitful sleep came. The next morning we woke at 0800 and surveyed the area. Surprisingly little damage to the structures, but several trees, and some panels from the carport and all the screens in the gazebo were missing. (Photos 18-26) And most disappointing the top and most of the tent part of the Volkswagen Camper had been ripped off. I have actually driven that van at 80 mph so we knew it was not an exaggeration about the wind speed. The sad part is that it only has liability insurance and was to be sold and to be picked up on the 20th for $3500. Now it is not clear what will happen to it. Still we were pretty darn lucky that the dock was built sturdy and the Endeavour is a very strong boat. I have often said that Endeavours laugh at hurricanes but I think from now on I will just say snicker behind their backs.
Some people we know had to leave their Endeavour in the Keys and escape north.They were totally devastated not knowing what happened. Considering it was still Category 5 when it hit the Keys it would have been horrid had they stayed. Good news is their boat survived. They have since discovered that although the boat had a rough ride it survived with minimal damage.
WE have our lives and our boat however many lost their homes and boats. Most of the damage in our neighborhood was trees and shrubbery. We were without power for 4 days. This includes water as we are on a well.Some of the worse fires in the Northwest United States has also happened.. This has been one of the worse summers for disasters in our recent history. Our heart goes out to all those who have lost everything.

What we learned

Weather science is not exact!
I’ve always said the boat can take more than I can. It looks like it is partially true as we went through it together even though our nerves were frazzled.We made a good choice when we bought the Endeavour and even though we had to put considerable work into her she came through for us. I seriously doubt that the new boats would have done as well. Our rigging and general structure of our boat is sound.
There is always one more thing to prepare, but by the time you think about it it’s too late!
Next time if we have as much warning we will MOVE the boat.
In summery we made our decision not out of heroism but out of an act of desperation. Dawn Treader is not only our home but contains all we have. Starting over again at our age, well it is just an option we did not want to consider. However. There was almost NO safety margin if any one thing in a chain of things changed we could have lost everything and maybe ourselves as well. It is a risk I would seriously try to avoid in the future.

A few words from Dawn on the experience.
All I could think of at the time was "how much longer is this going to last" and silently praying the boat would withstand the beating she was taking. A few times I was holding on to the "E" ticket ride of my life. I have been through some heavy seas, but nothing like this. I am very thankful the Dawn Treader is a tough boat. And there was minimal damage to the owner's property.

Some Improvements

Just before the hurricane Dawn got a Turbo Halogen Convection Oven. (Photo 33)
It uses 30% less energy and Dawn says it bakes perfect bread! It replaced our old electric convection oven which kinda wore out.
I fabricated brackets for the whisker poll and the mast sections for the Walker Bay dinghy and added a manual bilge pump. I also filled in the depression in front of the dager board support with foam and glassed and painted over so that all the water flows into the bilge pump.
As things return to normal there are 2 things very important to us at this time. Getting the boat pulled out to do the bottom paint and some plumbing issues and disposing of the Volkswagen. I need a solid taker. I have posted that the first person to arrive with a tow dolly and $2000 gets it. It runs but will need some electronic tune up and all the camping gear works. It has a duel voltage refrigerator and goo propane stove. I just do not have the time to vix it and we need to concentrate on the sailboat.

There is another storm out there brewing and we dearly hope it does not hit Florida.

August 2017

The past 3 months the crew has been busy building davits nursing a major wound that took umpteen stitches and staples as well as a long ride in the ambulance to the emergency room.

The other sad news was the loss of our dear friends, John and Linda Crone of their son Scott to a heart attack just after his 54th birthday.

Some other complications caused us to miss our deadline to pull the boat out and get bottom paint done. Because we are now well into the hurricane season and the hot weather things will slow a bit.

This month the principle discussion is on the general boatkeeping and day today life aboard Dawn Treader.

Dawn is in charge of the Galley and various accessories that have made it practical and convenient to live aboard a boat. Much of what we have learned applies equally well to living on an RV or any limited space dwelling. We welcome any suggestions or discoveries made by our readers as well. We can be contacted at our E-Mail for subscribers or through our web page at www.ourdawntreader.com !

One of our most useful accessories is this bread storage. Dawn ordered it from Amazon

And it has saved many loaves of bread. It works simply by evacuating excess air from the container. Bread stored in a refrigerator does not mold as quickly but still will be stale. Freezing works well but boats and RV’s have small freezer sections. So another solution was found and so far it has been working well even in the hot humid climate of the Florida Gulf Coast. It is a simple device. As the bread is consumed the two halves are spaced closer together while forcing out the air. This prevents the mold and keeps it fresh usually the life of the bread loaf. (Photos 1-2)

The Mandolin. It is used for slicing and julienne, which takes up very little room yet Dawn uses almost daily preparing vegetables for not only cooking but for salads. Also from Amazon! (Photo 3)

Hand Mixer, Blender, Chopper. This multipurpose tool is used in much the same way as the big brother counterparts however, much more compact storage. The only disadvantage is it requires the use of an inverter when off shore power. Hamilton Beach also Amazon under $20. (Photo 4)

Dawn uses a Multi-Purpose Sprayer that we bought from ACE Hardware to rinse dishes when we are on the water storage tank. It really helps to conserve water and is much more controlled than rinsing from the faucet. It is only used when we are not hooked up to city water. (Photo 5)

Dawn fabricated foam insulation and converted the space under the vanity in the quarter berth to a root cellar of sorts. This is to help with long term storage of potatoes and non-refrigerated items that need cool dark storage. My eventual plans are to remove that sink and convert the cabinet into a working desk which will allow more storage with the drain pipe and water lines removed. (Photo 5)

Not pictured but used often is the Fresh Saver by Food Saver it is rechargeable and with the accessory bags and bowels will store items in a vacuum preventing spoilage.

We bought ours at Wal-Mart. (foodsaver.com)

For those nearing retirement and/or contemplating living aboard a boat or in a Recreation Vehicle, may find that although there are many advantages however, there are major changes in daily living. Life in general is unchanged, we still shop, du laundry, and all the normal things associated with normal lifestyle. The big change is what happens to all the STUFF accumulated over our lifetimes. Everything must be downsized. Many things must be discarded, Donated or sold, there is no longer room for excess items such as shoes, suits, and other clothing. Most of all avoid the As Seen on TV ads! Getting used to the fact that there just is not enough room may be the hardest part of the transition. Dawn moved onto her first boat while she was still working and I started preparing for a major kayak trip during the last 5 years before early retirement. My preparation was perhaps the most extreme as I literally got rid of everything except tool for a boat and bare minimum of clothing. When I had finished everything I owned would fit in the 2 hatches of my touring kayak and a small storage shed at a friend’s house in Arizona. My first boat was also stored there as well while I did a 2600+ mile kayak trip down the Missouri River. I don’t particularly recommend that approach! Dawn and I took the burning bridges approach and it has worked out well for us. We have also noticed that many of our long time cruising friends also took the same approach. We found those that retained a back-up usually evoked it some relatively soon.

Major Pitfalls to Avoid

The most important pitfall in my opinion is the condition of the boat or RV. Nothing is more discouraging than being delayed by a long list of repairs of having a major breakdown at sea or on the road. Those lucky enough to obtain new ones are not immune to problems however at least much will be covered by a factory warrantee. That will still delay a trip but be less damaging on the wallet. Some of my friends more resourceful and much more cleaver than I, started the process while still working. That gave them plenty of time to sort out problem and get used to outfitting the boat or RV. Also shorter outings provide the experience that well prepare one for full time. Second is experience. The more the better. My sailing experience was almost zip, when I bought my first boat. The kayak trip I had planned for 5years was postponed because of injuries due to a motorcycle accident and out of boredom I bought my first sailboat for $1400. It was a 24 foot American Mariner which I later totally rebuilt and lived aboard for about a year in Port Isabel Texan ------ in summer--------with no air-conditioning!

Thankfully for about 4 months I lived in Ventura Harbor while recovering than trailered that boat to Arizona. Does Size Matter? That is a personal choice. It has been done in smaller than I started with but after 5 boats 4 of which I lived aboard we have settled on 37 feet. I believe it is a good size for a couple. The balance between size and cost is the greatest consideration. It is not so much for RV’s as it is for boats. Everything in the boating world is charged by the foot! Rarely can you find dockage as we have that is a flat fee. Bottom pain, pull-out for maintenance, rigging repairs, sails, and even Mooring, are all charged by the foot. The other consideration is sail handling. Bigger boats=Bigger, heaver sails. Bottom line, new or used, get a very through check before buying or setting sail. Inspect every inch and every system. Self-sufficiency is the key to success.

Many of my friends as well as my first mate believe the advantages far outweigh the inconveniences. We have lived aboard a boat since 2002 and 2003 it has become routine for us. The places we have visited and things we’ve done would not have been possible with a sedentary lifestyle. Mostly it has been the people and friendships that have developed over the years. One recent example was the couple we met while trying the find the Immigration office in Tortola which led to a guided tour and an offer of assistance when we return!

My boat projects for the month

After finishing the Davits the dinghy was hoisted and davit arms checked for deflection. There was no measureable amount. (Photos 7-8)

The cover had to be adjusted and some Velcro straps were added to help with shedding water. The drain plug is hard to access without a full dock. (Photos 9-12)

In the original location the grill was causing the davit arm above it to get hot so it was relocated in front of the davits and a heat shield was added however, so far neither the shield nor the davit arm gets even warm. I believe that is what led to the breakdown of the previous set! (See discussion last month’s newsletter.) (Photos 13-16)

An adjustable pulley was mounted to facilitate raising and lowering the outboard engine. (Photos 17-18)

Storage brackets for the Walker Bay mast and Whisker Pole were fabricated from the scrap material left over from building the davits. Normally the whisker pole is stored vertically on the front of the mast and eventually will be. The mast sections are too long to fit in the storage under the cockpit so they were located at the stern out of the way but easily accessible. (Photos 22-26)

Trip to Orlando

During a 4 day trip to the Orlando time share we visited a friend Bill Brut on the Dark Side (Atlantic Coast) and had lunch with Bill and Jeanne.

Mostly we just had a time of relaxing and only ate out twice. The other was at the at Oishi Sushi Japanese Restaurant. Our favorite is the Binto Box.

The Time Share at Mystic Dunes has a water slide that is surprising as it does not look so from the outside but has interesting twists and turns on the way out!

During the past summer it would get too hot to cook in the boat. Dawn would set up a camp stove in the fish house (Screened in Gazebo) and we would cook and eat there. Other times we would do most of our cooking on the Magma Grill which allows the center to be removed and then can be used like a stovetop burner. I would say my Magma has become one of my most used accessories! (Photos 33-34)

July 2017

This month’s newsletter is mostly about constructing the new davits.

Now for the davits. I am pretty much going to post a complete construction article for any who may wish to construct similar davits. Also the materials used are great for many other projects such as deck replacements and such. I used the ½ inch (Metric Equivalent) to replace the rotted core of my cockpit floor 2 years ago and that article is in our archive on our web page at:  http//
www.ourdawntreader.com. (May 2016 photos)

Replacing the davits became a necessity because one side started sagging and when we were lowering the dingy it jerked and snapped off the arms of the starboard side. After talking with some experts it was determined that the cause of the delamination was the use of Fiberglass Mat in the layup. Epoxy does not saturate mat fully and should be used only with Polyester or like resins. I will probably get some argument over this but nevertheless that’s where my original davits failed.

Davit Construction

Last year after finishing a job of hurricane repair on a 65 foot trawler I had some Nida-Core left over from the deck repair so I decided to utilize what I had to make a pair of davits for Dawn Treader. I learned a lot in the process and made what turned out to be a fatal mistake. When I flew RC Airplanes we used to say buy 2 kits one to learn on and one to fly! This turned out to be true for my davits. After talking with some fiberglass experts and doing more research on materials, the following is the result of the redesign and construction. It’s more labor intensive than constructing from Stainless Steel but the advantage is no special welding equipment of skills are necessary and they will be just as strong and corrosion resistant.  Perhaps a bit lighter as well. If one wishes to compare the construction it is in the September and October 2015 on the website archive!

This time I started with a fresh 4 by 8 sheet of ½ inch Nida-core and ¼ inch Divinnycell.

The ¼ inch Divinnycell may have been overkill and 1/8 inch is available. In either case enough to match the Nida-core plus enough for the end caps is necessary. Start with about 8 yards of 8oz Cloth and 3 rolls of 4 inch fiberglass tape, mine was 7 ½ oz.

The first step was to organize the construction area in the shed. I wish to digress here and mention what I am referring to as plastic drop cloth and the plastic to prevent attaching bricks and such to the parts being epoxied is actually Mylar sold in the paint department of most stores. I got mine at Walmart. I used the 2 mill as that was the strongest I could find. I think of it as thick saran wrap. However it is used extensively in the construction to form a barrier when attaching parts of forming filets and many other uses.

Pictured are the uncut sheets. One of the causes for the failure was the orientation of the Nida-core so this time the overall shape was laid out to keep the core vertical. 4 identical arms were cut from the 4 by 8 sheet (photos 2-6). These were laid on plastic drop cloth to allow the first coat of fiberglass cloth to be laminated without warping. After all 4 were coated and trimmed they were sanded until smooth. Using the 4 inch tape add 3 more layers to each side  sanding between coats to provide a good bond(11, 14-21). After all are cured and sanded join 2 halves together. I used a permanent marker to number each lamination as the number will show through after sanding. I used a total of 6 layers before attaching the Divinnycell. Also before starting to attach the Divinnycell determine the size of the pulleys that are going to be used. Mine were 3 inch diameter and 1 inch wide. The Divinnycell laminations are cut to acuminate the pulley of choice and will be given extra laminations on the inside to provide for a strong mount. (See Photo 14) It is suggested that one side be angle cut about 4 inches back from the end to allow for fitting of the pulley (Photos 22-25). When attaching Divinnycell to the Nida-core use a mixture of epoxy and microfiber the consistency of watery mayonnaise on the davits and straight epoxy applied to the Divinnycell’s matting then using bricks with plastic under them, for weights make a final check to make sure its lined up   I left the lower part uncovered until the bases were attached. At this time it is quite noticeably sturdy (photos 18-20). It is quite easy to use a saber saw to trim excess Divinnycell from the arms after it is cured. Then an orbital sander to clean it up. Before laminating the Divinnycell to the other side as stated above I made an angle cut about 4 inches back from the end. Laying the pulley in the end it was found that about 2 more layers of Divinnycell were going to be needed on each side to fill the gap. Make sure there is clearance for the pulley to turn freely as it is very hard to sand inside after the two halves are joined.

Again refer to Photos 22 to 25.  It is suggested that the Drop cloth plastic is placed on both sides of the intended pulley before joining the final part of the side to keep the spacing.

I wanted to use the same base as the holes were already drilled to bolt to the railing of the boat and performed well. They were so strong that it tool a carbide blade to cut old davits from them (Photo 13). In order to use them in the proper position they were left bolted to the boat and a scaffold was constructed using 2 by 2 and 1 by 4 lumber clamps and screws to be as sturdy as possible (photos 26--31). When the final position is determined using a mixture of ½ each of wood flour, microfiber and epoxy mixed to the consistency of peanut butter and make a smooth fillet using a piece of plastic drop cloth to shape it, this will cut down on sanding later (photos 43 + 26-31). After the base joint is thoroughly set unbolt the bases and remove the davits for finishing. Make cardboard patterns to cut and fit leg braces and attach using the mixture of Wood Flour, Microfiber, and Epoxy again about peanut butter thick. Mine actually remained in place without clamps and set up just fine (photos 32, 33). Finish up the first stage by bonding Divinnycell to the leg supports (photos 34-39). Before continuing with fiberglass laminations cut out a section about 6 inches for a reinforcement of the pulley support. Use the same filler mix with a couple layers of glass cloth. This process will be repeated on the next layer of Divinnycell (photo 42).

The first layer of fiberglass over the Divinnycell is cut from a single piece, and after trimming and sanding is marked with a black marker. Your choice regular or Roman Numerals just as long as each layer is marked up to 6 (photos45-46). Next add the endcap. This will not only fill the gaps in the Nida-core but will add strength to the assembly making a smooth surface. Formers were made from 1 by 4 lumber wrapped with plastic drop cloth material. I use the heaviest I can buy which is the 2 mill stuff. Tape it on the back side. Again use a mixture of both fillers mixed with Epoxy and use “C” clamps to keep the Divinnycell in place. It is a bit more convenient to mix it in a 5 quart bucket available in the paint department and just trowel it on filling all the gaps and use the using a putty knife and after clamps are snug and scrape off excess from the sides. This will really cut down on sanding and grinding as this mixture sets up very hard. Fill any gaps or voids with filler mix before laminating (Photos 47-53). Coat the caps with a layer of fiberglass to protect the Divinnycell before laminating the sides (Photos 57-59). Then start laminating layers to the sides. I used 4 inch 7 1/2oz Fiberglass tape and alternated overlapping the arm. After 6 layers were applied and sanded between each layer for a secure bond. For the inner surfaces using a 2 inch sanding drum on a drill worked nicely as long as it is kept moving.  Next braces were constructed from the Nida-Core and were laminated 4 layers on each side before applying Divinnycell in the same manner as the davits. Then add 4 more laminations of Fiberglass (Photos 60-61).

The location and length of the brace will be governed by the application and fit to each individual boat. Mine were 14 inches long and witch to match the Davit arm minus the layer of Divinnycell, it is best to locate then as far down and as far out as possible without fouling the railing or lifelines of each particular boat.  

To apply, the brace a cutout was made in the Divinnycell and using a small grinding wheel taper the cutout to match the angle of the brace. Then using a mixture of half each Micro Fiber and Wood Flour mixed to peanut butter consistency glue the brace in place. After Epoxy has set laminate a layer of Fiberglass Tape to the bottom in one continuous strip from tip to base (Photos 62-63). Cut and laminate final layer of ¼ inch Divinnycell to the davits. Again remove a 1 inch by 6 inch section for the pulley brace (Photo 64-67).  Again fill this with alternate layers of fiberglass cloth and a thin mix of epoxy and microfibers. To cut down on sanding later place one of the 1 by 4 wood blocks suitably covered in plastic wrap, and weigh it down with a brick.(Photo 67) The final layer will also fit over the braces, leave enough excess to form a fillet. I filled the gap with small bits of Divinnycell scrap and wood flour microfiber mix.  Using a 2 inch sanding drum on a drill helps to form a smooth fillet at both ends of the brace. I believe at this point a substitution of 1/8 inch material would be sufficient and the ¼ inch may be overkill however the store I went to did not carry the 1/8 inch. Also since I did not make a test arm the extra strength did not add much weight. (Photos66-68)

Everything is now ready for the finish coats of fiberglass and epoxy laminations.

Start with one continuous sheet cut to match the davits and protect the Divinnycell. Trim and sand after epoxy has set. (Photos 68-73) Round the top corners slightly to prepare for the next step. The next step requires a small travel iron or in my case a model aircraft monocoat iron. (Photo 74) In either case set temperature high enough to crease the Fiberglass cloth without melting it. Then measure the width of the arm at the top and fold the 4 inch Fiberglass Tape to cover the top and overlap down the side about an inch. Lay the tape on the arm to fit and cut slots at each bend about the inch that overlaps to allow the tape to bend at all the curved parts all the way down to the base. Epoxy the creased tape to the upper arm all the way to the base smooth out all air bubbles. . When cured sand top and side tapering into the original lamination at the side. Now repeat for the other side again allowing the top part to completely cover the tip and down an inch. Again sand when cured. For the final top overlap crease 2, 4 inch Fiberglass Tape strips so that it covers half the distance on the top and now about 2 inches down the side. Again don’t forget to cut slots to allow for bends. Laminate both strips at the same time again smooth out any air bubbles.(Photos 75-76)

When cured sand sides and top smooth to prepare for finish coat. Add 2 more laminations to the sides and one to the bottom and sand. Before painting add one last coat of epoxy for a finish coat and check to be sure there are no nicks or gouges. If any imperfections are found use a paste of epoxy, Wood Flour and Microfiber to fill then sand smooth. For the finish coat prepare a dam using masking tape leaving about 1/8 to ¼ inch above the surface (Photos 77-79). Then carefully brush epoxy onto the surface being careful not to disturb the masking tape. Do this with all 4 surfaces. Then sand smooth first with coarse then gradually down to 220 to prepare for primer. Do not paint at this time (Photo 80).

It is now time to add the hardware and prepare the cross braces. I am going to have 3 because a solar cell is going to be mounted to the top of the davits when finished.

If mounting a solar cell determine the width of the cell panel. It is best to place the panel as close to the vertical support arms as possible. Using at least 2 inch wide masking tape place in position on the support arms. Mine has 3 the first 2 were 30 inches and the last 18 inches then primer. I used Interlux Perfection 2 part epoxy. When dry peel the tape off (Photo 81). I sanded and added a second coat of primer replacing the tape for the cross brace location each time. Use the same procedure for the color coat. It is recommended that the davits are painted a light color mine is oyster white. While paint is setting start construction of cross braces.

 They are laid up in the same way as the davits. Determine the final width of the davits. Mine has a slight taper however the braces will be trimmed after completed during final fitting. I used ½ inch Nida-Core and cut 1 ½ inch wide. The Nita-Core will flex considerably so to keep the braces flat a sheet of plastic drop cloth (2 mil is best) is taped to a flat surface the length of the braces. Lay 2 inch fiberglass tape the length of the brace on the plastic and liberally coat the cloth and Nida-Core with resin. Lay the brace on top and weight down with bricks placing plastic under the brick to prevent sticking. When fully cured without lifting from the plastic sheet laminate two strips of 2 inch tape by layering epoxy on the Nida-Core smoothing the first strip then carefully brushing epoxy and adding the second layer of tape. When fully cured (suggest overnight) carefully remove from the drop cloth. Twist from the edge to prevent warping. Turn over and Carefully sand on a flat surface to remove any irregularities left from the drop cloth. (Caution the supports can break if bent during this process. Care to keep supports flat is highly recommended until the Divinnycell is laminated.) With the brace lying flat on the plastic add 2 more layers of tape as before. When cured the brace should hold its position without warping but caution, handle carefully as they can break if bent. Sand and continue lamination for a total of 4 layers on each side (Photos 82-84).

Laminating ¼ inch Divinnycell will add great strength with little weight. Cut to fit leaving about ¼ inch overlap. Lay with the scored surface down. Mix enough epoxy to coat both surfaces. Thicken with a mixture of Wood Flour and Microfibers as before to about the consistency of mayonnaise. Brush onto both surfaces and lay the brace on top of the Divinnycell. Ideally some epoxy mixture should ooze out when weighted with bricks. Be sure to add plastic under the bricks (Photo 94). When Cured turn over sand smooth and repeat the process. Again when cured true up the edges using a belt sander before laminating Divinnycell to the edges using the same procedure. The braces will now be encapsulated by Divinnycell and will be 2 inches wide 1/12 inches thick. Next laminate 4 more layers of tape and epoxy to each of the 4 surfaces (Photos 85-86).

 While the braces are curing the location and fitting of the pulley system can be accomplished. Locate pulley so that the rope will just clear the top of the arm and drill the hole to acuminate the pulley. Mine was ½ inch. Drill another ¼ inch hole below and clear of the pulley to attach the other end of the rope. Make sure there is good distance from the bottom for strength as the rope will support the weight of the dingy. I over drilled each hole filled with thickened epoxy and then re-drilled to proper size toad reinforcement to the Pulley and Rope assembly then strung through the intermediate pulley with snap shackles See final assembly (Photo 87-88).

The davits are now ready to bolt back onto the boat. I used 5/16 stainless bolts and washers, with fender washers in the underside where it mates with the boat decking. I also used nylon locking bolts for the assembly (Photos 89-91).

When cross braces are laminated it is time to prepare to attach to the davits. Extra care is required as the rope placement will go through the braces and under the solar cell. So the braces will locate slightly above the top of the arms. If you don’t intend to mount solar panels they can be mounted flush. Either way be sure not to foul the line that will raise and lower the dinghy. Mark the placement of the braces and using a saber saw cut the notches allowing about ½ rise above the top of the davits (Photos 92-97).  When satisfied with the fit mark the center of the cut. My belt sander allows the end to flip up and make about a 3/8 inch grove that will allow the line to fit in the hole after the cross brace is attached. Test with the rope before final fitting with epoxy and thickener mix (Photos 98-99). If the belt sander does not have this option a ½ inch drill and then a ¾ inch sanding drum on a drill will also do well.

Remove and protect dinghy lifting line before applying the epoxy mix. For this job the mix should be slightly thicker than the consistency of peanut butter. The cuts in the Nida-Core to fit the arms will leave corrugated gaps these must be filled completely before dropping unto the arms. Smooth a thin layer on the mating surface of the davit arm then place brace in position. Some mix should ooze out of the joint. Carefully smooth into a fillit (Photos 100-103).  Be sure to keep the hole in the middle clear for the line to go through. Check again when the mixture starts to set and is easy to clear. Use a ¼ inch dowel wrapped with a paper towel and soak with Acetone in case some mix fouls the hole.  When it is set hard make a larger fillit using a rectangular piece of Fiberglass cloth and smooth. The plastic drop cloth material is handy for this step as it can be pressed onto the gusseting to smooth the fillit and cut down on final sanding.

Use the same procedure for the rest of the Cross Braces. When all braces are in place prime and paint. String line from pulleys through the braces to the end. I used a ring to guide the line at the end to lead to the cleats. These were obtained at West Marine (Photos95). Solar Cell mounting is left to the individual as each application will depend on the placement and location on individual boats. Select and locate cleats to individual desire. We also intend to attach the Bimini using the cross brace to attach the end so the cleat must not foul the Bimini location. The last brace will be fun to attach as the position places it over the water and I have not yet master the ability to walk on it yet. I full length slip would help here. (Photo 104)

June 2017

It was my intent to have the complete construction article for the davits this month.

They got sidetracked by an accident. A high speed cutoff blade broke and cut my arm, It looks far worse than it turned out as no major arteries or muscles were damaged but it will postpone the construction article tell next month.

Dawn is continuing to get great reports from her surgery and there is now no new growth. Her next appointment is in October.

The Volkswagen is home again at long last after nearly 8 months. It starts and runs but still needs an expert to tune the fuel injection system. I was offering it for sale at $10,000 BUT WILL NOW DISCOUNT THE PRICE as it may take another $1000 to get it right. The owner of the shop went in to the hospital for prostate cancer and sold the shop to a body man who knows nothing about the mechanics. So I brought it home. So if you know how to work on an 86 VW Bosch Fuel Injection my loss could be your gain. Email me with an offer. We need to get our pull out and bottom paint done as well as some plumbing issues.

We have a new boat at our docks. A catamaran and the owner lives in Michigan.

We also had a White Pelican visit our dock as well.

The recent rains also raised the water level at our dock as well.

The sailing club we belong to, Englewood Sailing Association, had the June elections and the new board members are Our New Board of Directors: Rob Domke President, John Riehl Vice President, Sue Rosen Treasurer, Laurie OGara Secretary.

At large members are: Ray Anderson, Deborah Clements, Craig Keller and Jack McCall. Hugh was presented Gifts from the membership as he is the outgoing president and has directed the club for many years.

May 2017

May travels were Jasper, Texas, Reno, Nevada, Virginia City, Nevada and Lake Tahoe California/Nevada.

Arrived at Ron’s house in Jasper Texas on Tuesday, April 25 and left for Houston to fly to Lake Tahoe on May First.

Jasper Texas

Jasper is a typical small East Texas town. The main downtown attractions are the Historic Courthouse and a town Museum. The downtown complex consist of many period buildings however most of the activity is in the periphery centered around the Lowe’s and Walmart. Still however, exploring the downtown is interesting especially since much of the classic architecture associated with these buildings is vanishing.

Ron’s hospitality is great as always and our friendship goes all the way back to High School. His latest addition was a goat that he rescued. He now has 4 dogs, two of which were rescued and the goat. While we were staying at Ron’s Dawn and I would go on morning walks. It is a rural location about 12 to 15 miles out of town. Across the main highway there was this incredible collection of STUFF. Kind of a permanent yard sale and a small church that was our landmark to find the county road that led to Ron’s house.

Lake Tahoe

We arrived Monday May first in Reno, picked up the rental car at Hertz and arrived at our villa about 5;30PM and after check in went to dinner at Harrah’s buffet which had a great view from the 18th floor. Lake Tahoe is about the 6th largest freshwater lake in the US. Located in the Sierra Nevada. Straddling the border between California and Nevada, at a little over 6,000 feet. It the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon. The bottom of the lake is about 250 feet lower than Carson City!.

Created and shaped 2 million years ago by the Ice age. Along the main street there are plenty of Casinos on the Nevada side and they bustle nonstop. I remember that when I was much younger there was not as many big name hotels and casinos such as Harrah’s and the others. Many large shopping centers line the main highway as well. Our villa is a short walk from the shore and there are boat rentals and when it gets warmer Jet Skis.


We spent lunch and some time with my two cousins and did visit one casino. Most of the time spent in Reno was for the family visit.

There are many new residences and shopping centers out where my cousin lived that was literally barren land on my last visit about 12 years ago!

Carson City

The tour of Virginia City went through Carson City and passed the Carson City Mint and Governor’s Mansion. The Carson City Mint operated from 1870-1893 and produced Silver and Gold coins. The largest denomination Gold Coin was the $30 Gold Piece.

The boarding house from the last John Wayne movie “The Shootist” is also located in Carson City.

Virginia City

Virginia City sprang up as a boomtown with the 1859 discovery of the Comstock Lode, the first major silver deposit discovery in the United States, with numerous mines opening. At the city's peak of population in the mid-1870s, it had an estimated 25,000 residents. The mines' output declined after 1878, and the city itself declined as a result.

The restored interest in Virginia City was brought about by the Bonanza Television Series and today tourism is the main industry. There are still a few operating mines in the area. The mining conditions were harsh because of the elevated temperatures in the mines reaching as high as 140 degrees! Miners worked about 15 minute shifts cooling down with ice blocks brought down from the high mountains around Lake Tahoe and stored in large Ice Houses. The mining consumed literally tons of ice per month. Today many of the original buildings stand and some are used in tourist attractions. Many of the original saloons and gambling halls exist still. However, all have modern slot machines and some still have Black Jack, Craps, and Roulette Wheels. A number of food emporiums line the main street. A shuttle tour around the city as well as a mine tour through one of the mines is available. Some were more than 2,000 feet below ground. There is a steam powered train that operates during the tourist season and starts about a week after we will be leaving.

Our tour bus went through the town of Genoa, which is the oldest town in Nevada.

Explorers and trappers made their way through this area but it wasn't until June of 1851 when John Reese and his party built a trading post that the area began to attract settlers and became a permanent settlement. However, I wish the bus would have stopped for a few minutes as the oldest saloon in Nevada is also a fun historical sight.

Flew out of Reno Saturday May 6th and after landing in Houston drove back Ron’s for 3 more days. Dawn’s Doctor’s appointment was changed to the 15th. The lunch stop was at Cajun Tails which has become one of “Must Stop” restaurant in Lake Charles Louisiana. Dinners are great Cajun fare and lunch was quite reasonable and they have the greatest onion rings ever.

Hopefully by next month the davits will be finished and re-installed and the Volkswagen Camper will be sold. We have traveled many miles and had great adventures in that Van but we are planning to move the boat soon and do some island sailing so storage cost dictate selling.

When we arrived home the new neighbor had arrived however he already left for home.

April 2017

This Months big news is we are going on a big cruise ship to the Caribbean. I am writing from the16th deck overlooking the vast ocean. The winds and sea would be perfect for our own boat however Dawn and I are enjoying the luxury of the Cruise Ship.
Dawn’s birthday was Sunday the 9th so she has planned a surprise for us in our cabin.
We start out with 2 days at sea and first stop is Saint Thomas. We had a shore excursion planned when we arrive. It is a scenic trip to the beach where there will be an opportunity to rent a kayak. The only wrinkle is that currently there was a 70% rain chance predicted.

Saint Thomas Virgin Islands

We arrived Tuesday Morning and Left the ship in time to walk into the business district and did some shopping at K-Mart. The prices reflect the fact that this is an Island. It was a bit of a walk back to the dock for our excursion to Megan’s Bay. Our driver was entertaining and pointed out many interesting places in Saint Thomas on the way to the Bay. The road to the bay went through a narrow pas over a small mountain. They drive on the other side
from us and it was especially thrilling being on the outside of the open air transit. Some places were straight down to the bay with barely enough room to pass.
The driver informed us that Megan’s Bay is the 7th best beach in the world. The water is crystal and the beach smooth sand with no rocks so one would agree with the appraisal.
Dawn and I had a couple of rum punches at the little bar on the beach and at $6,50 we felt they were a great Bergan for a tourist stop. We swam around for about an hour and Dawn found 3 small conches we left 2 and some children were fascinated watching them come out of the shells when put in shallow water.
Soon however the tide carried them out of sight. The ride back to the ship did not seem nearly as traumatic perhaps because we were getting used to driving on the left or because now the cliffs were on the other side.


The second Island we stopped at was Tortola which is a British Virgin Island yet they used American Money all over the Island.
We did our own walking tour as most everything interesting is in walking distance of the docks. First stop was to buy some post cards to mail to friends and then the next stop was to post them.
Postage was a bit of a surprise as it was only $1.75 to mail 5 post cards all the way back to the US! While continuing our walking tour of the Island we discovered one of the main grocery stores.
One of the workers greeted us at the door and proceeded to give us a complete tour of the store were the first Dr. Pepper since Miami was acquired. From there Dawn found an all-purpose one size fits all, and there is a lot of ALL, summer dress. Before returning to the ship we wanted to get our passports stamped.
The guard at the gate gave us round about directions which soon got us lost so we asked some people talking where the Immigration office was located.
Rather than give direction the man offered to drive us there, and proudly announced that he was a Retired Police Lieutenant and his wife was a Retired Nurse and was heading in that direction.
On the way gave us a mini-tour and another grocery store to check out. It had THE most interesting “Deli Counter” with the most interesting variety of foods we have ever encountered!


Nassau a very busy place. However they must take their religious holidays more serious as all the banks and the Pirate Museum as well as most government houses were closed. The Pirate Museum was a disappointment and for the second time it was missed. Naturally most of the tourist businesses we open as there were 4 cruise ships in at the same time. Ours held 1100+ so there were plenty of people milling around the docks. We did manage to get our Passports stamped and went for a walk around town, after which found a little pub across from Senor Frogs. Ordered a couple beers and some French Fries. The beer and fries were good the service was lousy but it gave us a chance to watch the tourist and the waterfront activities. The visit to Nassau was topped off with a horse drawn buggy tour through town. Our driver gave us a commentary on Nassau History as we traveled through the town.

We arrived back in Miami Saturday morning and headed back home stopping at Burger King and a gas station. Everything was fine and we learned we are getting a new dock mate so we had to move our boat back to the original slip. It looks like it will be a long time before the sunken boat off our bow will be removed.

The Home Front

Work continues on the replacement davits. I believe the reason for the failure was because I had inadvertently used some fiberglass mat in the construction and mat should not be used with epoxy as there are no solvents to dissolve the binder in the mat so there is not penetration and it does not wet out properly. It is taking more time to lay up the new ones with 8oz. cloth but it
will be much stronger in the finished product.

Because there are so many photos this edition the davits will be in the next.
We leave in a week for Texas and then fly to Reno for a bonus trip from our time share. It will be nice to see my cousin again and then up to Tahoe for a week at the resort.

March 2017

There was a lot of travel the last of February and the first of March.
Our very good friends John and Linda Crone invited us to meet them in Savannah, Georgia. Linda grew up in Georgia and Savannah was one of their stops in a tour to meet with many churches and supporters as they put together their life story as missionaries for Campus Crusade for Christ.
The past number of years they have traveled and published books throughout the world, including China, Russia, and most recently Egypt!
We spent 2 days in Savannah and then traveled up the coast to Kitty Hawk, North Carolina for 4 days.
While in Georgia we visited Tybee Island and the Savannah River Front and had some great seafood as well as a tour of a huge candy store with all kinds of the old fashion candies that at one time pervaded in general stores before their demise.
On Tybee Island there is still the old artillery emplacement that was built in World War 2 to protect the coast and the Tybee Lighthouse as well and nice beaches and plenty of shops and interesting houses.
Standing on the River Walk it was fun to imagine Rhett Butler bringing up supplies in blockade runners to Savannah. Ah yes! Shades of “Gone with the Wind” although Terra was in Atlanta.
In North Carolina there was the Wright Brothers Compound and a monument as well as a full sized bronze sculpture of that first powered flight. The Wright Brothers spent a lot of time in Kitty Hawk perfecting the aircraft and had to carry their early gliders up a massive hill to launch. The Monument is at the top of this hill.
Lugging a heavy glider up the steep hill would tax any
considerably. There was plenty of hard physical labor that went into their flight experiments. I have included a panorama shot to give an idea of the scope of this effort.
What is very interesting is the history of “pirates” all along the Southern Atlantic Coast. Many of the famous names in pirate history began as privateers employed by the Crown of England to rob the gold shipments from the Spanish. After England made peace with Spain they were summarily dismissed. Some were given governorship of some Caribbean Islands but most were left to find new ways to support themselves. During the Civil War many became Blockade Runners to supply the Confederate States with needed supplies. There is a Pirate Museum in Savannah and it is very much worth a visit.
The big news for the boat this month is that one of the arms to our Davits failed. Dawn noticed the dinghy was sagging slightly on one side so we decided to take the dinghy off while we were traveling. The rope slipped a bit and it jerked and splash! The dinghy was in the water! What is interesting is that one side is still solid and both were identical in construction. However because the materials were what was left over from a job on
another boat the design was not ideal. The new design will incorporate not only the Nida-Core but also Divinycell. More details on the construction later. However the new design will not only be much stronger but actually a little lighter as well. It is still planned to have the solar cell mounted on the davits.
On the medical front Dawn’s test all came out negative for any residual cancer and my stress test was excellent. My next evaluation is in a year.
Next month more travel is scheduled and hopefully the pullout to finish Dawn Treader’s outfitting. The Volkswagen Country Camper is still up for sale and has just receive a major fuel injection tune up.

February 2017

This month the big news is the boat that sunk last September. The man across the way is attempting the salvage. So far the attempts have proved less than Stellar.
So far there are a number of people involved however, the man who is actually responsible is totally avoiding making any progress. However he has brought another boat up and docked it here. It may get interesting in the next few weeks. We will miss the fun as we have a lot of travel plans.
This last month Dawn had test at Bay Pines V A Hospital for screening. They have so far turned up negative. Next month she will get a bone scan. So we stayed in Orlando for the week. My stress test and echocardiogram made my cardiologist happy and my next checkup is a year from now. With all that out of the way and my kayak sold our plans for a pull out will be done hopefully in March. The buyer is going to pick up the kayak the first part of the month. Our plans are to renew the bottom paint and make some modifications to the head plumbing to make it more code compliant and user friendly.
The Volkswagen was running when we visited the shop but all the relays and wiring was open. The shop owner is having an outside technician working on the fuel injection and tole us it will be finished when we return. After 14 years of ownership this is the first serious problem I’ve had with it. However we are still planning to sell it as we plan to move the sailboat and one vehicle is bad enough let alone two.
For a last minute surprise Dawn noticed that the one side of the davits was lower than the other. So we started to lower the dingy the Starboard arm collapsed and SPLASH the dingy was in the water. What is interesting is only one arm broke. We have not decided weather or not to rebuild or like for a used replacement. Or New!
Travel Plans
We are going to leave for Savannah Georgia, to meet with our friends John and Linda Crone for the week end. Then after that we are going on to Kitty Hawk North Carolina.

January 2017

Time marched on and we got a new year and a new administration and many surprises for the year. My only political comment for the New Year is that by in large a great many people are acting deplorable. The general hypocrisy in our nation has become to us most tiring.

One thing I would like to ask at the start of this New Year is to ask everyone to let us know if you want to stay or unsubscribe from our newsletter and to check out the web page and give us feedback. Dawn has been working hard on making the presentation attractive. The link to the web page is (http://www.ourdawntreader.com/ )

On to the news of our Endeavour. We have managed to do a six month refit in only 4 years! The reasons for such a long time was because of unknown problems that was missed on the survey, the lack of funds (a common problem) and two jobs that interfered with time to work on our boat. One was the job at Publx Grocery bagging and the other was doing a complete hurricane damage repair on a huge (to me) 65 foot trawler. These took up about 2 years of our time. During our 4 years in Florida we met many new friends and had some great adventures. We took some notable trips that included Savanna, New Mexico, California, Arizona, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, and Florida. Not necessarily in that order. Dawn and I both have recovered from surgeries and things are going well on that front.

Moving on to the New Year we look forward to some new adventures. I am writing this from ay timeshare in Orlando Florida as we take a break from the boat and will be traveling back and forth to Bay Pines VA Hospital for a series of test for Dawn’s follow up. Next month we will be spending some time with our friends from Texas. We are going to meet John and Linda Crone in Savannah Georgia for a couple days. The boat is still not ready for a trip like that or we would sail up as there are guest slips on the River Walk in the Historic District. The closer we get to finishing the refit of Dawn Treader the more impatient I become to take to the seas again!

At the time of writing this newsletter we still have no resolution on the Volkswagen Van or the 19 foot kayak and we are simply too far from anything to solve both problems.

Hopefully sometime next month another Volkswagen technician will be visiting Florida from California where I used to get work done in the past. Perhaps he can fix it or maybe even buy it. Either way it is past ridiculous that over 2 months and still no one can figure it out!

This also puts us in a bad position concerning many things including a way to get the boat pulled out. We have much stuff that will need to be discarded as well. This is like the 3rd time we have sorted through and sold or discarded stuff. The Volkswagen was used to haul what we had left from leaving Arizona which were mostly tools and clothes. We are so far from everything here in Turkey Creek and the Mustang is a convertible so we can’t transport stuff on the roof. However thankfully the local land fill is close enough to take stuff with the top down. So we are seriously sorting and tossing. We are so limited as our little community is so isolated and as far as yard sales everybody already knows everything so its disposal and all must be reduced to fit into 30 gallon trash bags! It is just the continuing process of freeing ourselves of excess baggage.

For all the artistic folks reading this month I am going to include a couple of my poems. Now that the boat is more or less finished I do hope to get back to writing.

Again please give us your feedback on the newsletter and web page. Thanks:

Charlie and Dawn --- Aboard the Dawn Treader !

My Father was a Sailor

It’s been two years now since I’ve slept in my own bed.
Abiding in tents, cars and with ladies fair.
Still refusing to be wed.
Dreaming still of the islands, wishing to be there.
Wandering through lands and seas,
Ever finding great wonders to tell.
All through the autumn with bright colored leaves.

My father was a sailor ring 2 bells and all will be well.

Roaming is the choice that was made,
Spanning the oceans my life stands aloof.
For this life all the luxuries I must trade,
live with stars to guide me to landfall
Sea brings sirens unleashed from heaven or from hell
Making mystic ports of call

My father was a sailor ring 4 bells and watch the sea swell

Strings of a puppet wound so tight.
If I could settle where would I be now?
I ran away like my father deep into the night
The constant horizon lies over the bow.
No time now to consider my plight.
Draw in the main sheet drive the boat on.

My father was a sailor 6 bells called into the night.

Now over 50 half a century gone
Hide away heart no time for aches here
I’ve eaten another day slept another night.
I swear the solution is order another beer.
To ask for anything more I haven’t the right

My father was a sailor ring 8 bells to call last watch.

Charles H. Smith © 2004

The Magic Kite

It sours only on the breeze of spring
For that is when the magic fills the air
The trumpets of the laughter rings
As it flies it must be watched with care
For all the dreams with it must stay
For those below must wait and prepare
Safely contained above the day
The magic kite will deliver from the thin air
All the dreams that can come our way

© Charles H. Smith 2011

December 2016

December Edition

The newsletter is late this month. There were lots of projects and of course Christmas.
Hope all of you had a great Christmas and will have a very special New Years! 
Our projects this month included a long awaited cruise up river to check all the repairs to the mechanical systems. The engine performed great and the temperature never got above 170.

The other projects were beautification of the interior. Restoring all the teak to its original luster. Three different finishes were used. On the entry way Interlux Perfection and Interlux Schooner Gold was used because of the exposure to sun in that area. Interlux Perfection 2 part finish was used in the Head and all the doors to provide good water proofing as the head is also our shower. Standard Spar Varnish was used everywhere else for that rich gold color.
Our trip up the river served two purposes. One was to check out the mechanicals. The other was to check out the boat yard. We need to get our boat out to redo the bottom paint. The manager informed us that it will most likely be till the middle of January before they have a space for us. 
So we plan to take some short trips through the river system and if we go in the Gulf it will not be longer than a day or two.
We were invited to have Christmas Dinner with the owners of our dock, Butch and Chris Floyd, there Daughter Julie, and next door neighbor Chris. 
All or our medical issues are great. So the next year should prove to be interesting. 
Dawn has added many things and you can sign up for the newsletter or request to be removed from our list.

November 2016 Thanksgiving Issue

We left Arizona November 17, 2012 and headed to not only a new home but a new relationship. Dawn and I met 6 months before leaving Arizona.

We arrived in Florida armed with a $3500 severance $1600 monthly teacher’s pension, Dawn’s $191 annuity, a $15, 500 Endeavour 37 that had been on the hard for 2 years and already rejected by 2 other buyers! I am quite thankful for the severance because at the time the company I left was struggling to survive. Travel expenses ate most of the money. Our first week was spent in a campground sleeping in the Volkswagen and preparing the boat to move aboard.

We met some really great people during this time and two of them Steve and Sue Rosen became not only good friends but instrumental in ever getting Dawn Treader back into the water and able to move.

Looking back on those 4 years we now find many things to be thankful for.

We have had some great adventures and misadventures. Had some interesting travels during that time and more than anything our boat is looking almost new and every system has been carefully analyzed, repaired, or modified as needed. During that time I had the opportunity to gain experience and learn about new materials while working on an acquaintance’s 65 foot boat. This not only helped with repairs to Dawn Treader but the extra income provided much needed materials, and parts as well and a couple of good vacations.

Dawn and I both started our boating adventures cold turkey so to speak.
Dawn on her Chris Craft Express Cruiser 36 in 2003 located in Long Beach California.
Me on my American Mariner 24 in 2003 located in Port Isabel Texas.
I literally sold everything and left after retiring early from San Bernardino School District.
Dawn took a Golden Handshake from Verizon and retired about the same time. We did not meet until much later in Arizona of all places.

We had one big thing in common we both lost our boats because of crooked people.
My longest trip in Florida was aboard someone else’s boat. Dawn Treaders longest trip to date was behind a tow boat! All that is about to change. We have only 2 more major refits and one requires a pull out as well. At the present we have a great slip with a great price because we have a shop to work out of while we are here. However a trip to the gulf requires 3 draw bridges and 2 locks. There is a DIY boatyard 2 miles upriver.

The year is ending soon and the outlook is good and our collected recovery is also going very well. We wish to thank all of our friends for their support and encouragement as well as thanks to Butch and Chris Floyd who rent us our slip.

We wish also at this Thanksgiving Time wish to extend very special thanks to Joanne Mrkonjich without whom we would never have this boat or a life. She is a super special lady and friend. Thanks also to John and Linda Crone for extending hospitality on our first Thanksgiving together.

Octoober 2016

Last October I wrote about our “Vampire Boat” and it seems the tradition continues. This month has mostly been another month of work to get Dawn Treader Ship Shape and Bristol! Naturally working in tight spaces produces its share of scrapes and bruises
Our home has really been taking shape and is starting to show her heritage well.
This month all the wood trim was finished and the cockpit received added colour which sets off the boat trim very well. Both chain lockers were emptied and rode and chain inspected. All the decks have now been refinished and the bracket that holds the pulleys for the steering have been reinforced with solid fiberglass replacing the delaminated wood core.
The battery charger went on the blink and was replaced and in the process some interesting discoveries were made about the boats electric system connections.
So all in all things are getting to the point where not only does everything work but all is correctly wired. The new battery charger is programmable and will accommodate every known battery type.
Dawn was busy with a big sewing project. She completely reconstructed our mattress for the V-Berth and fashioning covers for it, as well as fitted sheets top and bottom.
It is quite comfortable as well as very nice looking. The new setup also allows access to the hatches and storage underneath.
We are getting close to the end of the trail as far as necessary items to make the boat safe as well as convenient to sail. At this stage I believe we pretty well know every corner of the boat. That will make for confidence as well as practical traveling.
This month we had a catastrophe however it was not caused by the hurricane. Hurricane Matthew has very little effect on us and the highest winds I recorded was 12 knots and we got one big spurt of rain. However the day before the news was building it up and the city of LaBelle was providing do it yourself sand bags. We know that this is considered a good hurricane hole but still expected a bit more. Glad it didn’t happen. Some of our friends up the coast and in the Carolinas did not fare as well. I received several photos of damage to cities and boats.
About a week before the hurricane hit our neighbor’s boat sank while he was away. We were out working on our own and I quit to clean up and about 2 hours later the owner knocked on our boat and asked if someone hit his boat because it had sunk.
Later after a lot of cleanup by Environmental Protection they raised the boat and found the cause of the sinking. The stern had large hole rot out. For 2 years that we have been here that boat has had excessive bilge water and the owner has been going to take it to Cuba?? Guess that idea is moot!

On a personal note, both Dawn and I received a clean bill of health on our last visits. All our blood numbers are very good;
We don’t have another checkup until January and March!

September 2016

The end of the month finds us finishing up some of the paint and the interior of the boat. We ordered the material to reupholster the V-Berth and replacing all the headliners and light fixtures. No major mechanical problems. The time for sailing trials is getting very close. Only the pull out remains.
We repainted the original trim stripes and added trim around the cockpit and the deck paint has been renewed. It has been a quiet travel month. Dawn and I both have had our checkups and passed.
We decided to take a 3 day “vacation” in Orlando for a break. Our neighbor’s boat sank during the last storm however it had nothing to do with the storm. When they pulled up the boat they found the stern was rotted away and just let go. The biggest problem is that the owner has just abandoned the boat and so it is left for the owner to remove. At this writing we are unsure what is going to happen.
I have been getting a lot of rowing practice working on the paint and turning the boat at the dock so the side can be painted without the dock lines obstructing the work.
The upcoming planned projects are down to renewing the bottom paint and checking all through hulls and valves. We hope to complete everything and start taking some shakedown trips by the end of next month.
It has been a busy month which a lot was accomplished!

August 2016

 This month much work was completed on Dawn Treader. Some for beautification some for emergency repairs. The middle of the month we returned to Orlando for out time share orientation. We continued with the tarp experiment (photos 2-3) using shock corded tent poles that allow the tarp to be removed and erected in minutes. The decks above the cabin was painted with a new product from Jamestown Distributers called Total Deck. It provides an easy applied finish that is good nonskid (photos 4-6). The next two projects were the wood trim and the V-Berth (photos 7-11 & 13-20). The V-Berth still had a slight leak that showed up every time it rained. Finally in frustration the entire headliner was removed to trace the leak. It was suspected that the stanchion mount may have been the culprit however once exposed it was discovered it was along a short section of the hull to deck joint. That made it a bit more complex. While working on that it was decided that the condition of the wood trim on the outside of the boat was too badly weathered so it was sanded sealed with epoxy and painted to match the trim stripe. The trim stripe was also repainted. With the V-Berth sealed and tested through two major thunderstorms the panels were replaced.It was about this time that the bilge pump started working much more than normal. Initial inspection found the raw water intake hose had become deteriorated and was leaking. It was replaced along with the hose from the strainer to the impeller pump. However the bilge pump continued to go on. Back under the cockpit Dawn discovered that the water heater was also leaking. We found one online from Defender for just under $300 with shipping. So while waiting for it to arrive I plugged the water line so we would have water inside the boat (photos 24-27). Replacement required a new wood mount and flaring one line that was broken removing the plug. However, the bilge pump still was going on occasionally about every 12 hours so another under deck inspection revealed that everything was totally dry.
It was then discovered our new air conditioner drain hose was the culprit leaking down the ladder into the bilge. 
The cockpit and the bow sprit will be kept and finished in the original teak however the perimeter (gunnels) look very good painted. The hull was scrubbed and in general cleaned to match the new look of the trim (photos 28-29 & 31-37). Photos 34 -35 show the storage shed/workshop and screened in gazebo that we get to use while at this slip. The last photos are of the time share and we get the 1 bedroom unit to save on our points. This trip was partially paid for by Diamond Resorts as it was the orientation meeting for new owners so we could learn of all the new features of the ownership. We decided to extend our stay for 2 more days as the cost was minimal. There were a couple of very good surprises which is rare these days especially with time share ownerships! We will update in a later newsletter.
New projects planned when we return to the boat will include recovering the mattress for the V-Berth, repairing the fresh water tank and finish painting the forward deck. Also in the planning stages are new canvas for the dodger and Bimini, painting upper trim to match the trim on the side and refresh the bottom paint. When we pull out to paint the bottom we will also check every through hull and gate valve. Hopefully Dawn Treader will be ready to do some extended sea trials by the end of September. 

July 2016 Edition

The month of June and July has passed so quickly and most of the medical issues have passed. My last trip to the Cardiologist gave me a very good report. Dawn will have her next checkup in September. Meanwhile we have been working hard to get Dawn Treader in Bristol Fashion.

This month the cabin decks were recoated with a new product called Total Deck from Jamestown Distributers. It forms a great nonskid finish and was easy to apply. The other major project was to seal the wood on the perimeter and prepare it for painting along with repainting the trim stripe. During this process we also had to dismantle the V-Berth and remove the headliner to chase down a stubborn leak. I have been getting a lot of rowing practice in the dingy as access is much better from the water side of the boat. Soon we will turn the boat to place the port side out. While working on the gunnels the windlass mount was removed and a lot of rot discovered. So that was repaired and fiber glassed to prevent any future rot. Basically our month of July was one of work and progress is being made.

This time of year is not the greatest for sailing or working in Florida. The mornings are hot and sweaty the afternoons are usually raining and windy. We have had rain almost every afternoon and a few storms with wind gusts up to 55 MPH. However Dawn Treader is securely tied to her dock. The only damage so far was to an inexpensive tarp and some shock-corded fiberglass poles. They have been replaced by stronger ones in our experimental tarp. The goal is to erect and remove the tarp in 20 minutes or less.

We expect August to be much of the same as we prepare Dawn Treader for her life at sea hopefully completing many safe adventures.Next month we will also be attending our orientation meeting for our Time Share which will serve as a mini vacation. I never knew retirement would be such hard work.

So as we face the challenges of preparing our boat and ourselves it is still much better than many things I can think of.

June 2016

This month the one large issue this month is due to the Patriot Act and its
interference with the ability for many of us full time RVers and Boaters to
receive mail, bank accounts, and credit cards. I am including a sample letter
and a list of legislators please feel free to use, modify, and add to the list and
MAIL letters to your representatives. Even if you are not living aboard or
traveling full time in an RV we who do would appreciate your support.

Our boat news for the month is little.

Dawn finished up her radiation therapy in St. Petersburg. It was actually a
sort of vacation for us both as we stayed in St. Petersburg during the week.
Then took a mini-vacation at our time share in Orlando. The mass shooting
happened about 2 weeks later so we were not involved. The decks got
painted with non-slip deck paint and some more rebedding of things that go
leak in the rain. Dawn has one more follow up with her Oncologist this month
and I have one in July with my Cardiologist. We are planning a trip to Miami
soon to receive our indoctrination on how to use our time share points and
pick up a solar panel for Dawn Treader. We are down to a few cosmetics
and 2 mechanical issues before we leave our river nest and head back into
the gulf. My work on that 65 foot trawler was finished thankfully before my
surgery but the owner reneged on the deal to pay our slip fees for the
remainder of time that was promised. They came and took the boat while I
was recovering. It is sort of a mixed blessing. I lost money on the deal but it
is out of my hair and if there are any complaints -----tough!

In the Galley Dawn got a really great slow cooker. Tayama and it works a lot
like a thermos Heat the inner part on the stove for 5-7 minutes place in the
outer part and let sit tell dinner time.

I do not get political in our newsletter but this is a universal problem for
anyone who uses a mail service. As promised here is the sample letter again
thank you for your support. Also PLEASE DO NOT MENTION ANY


Please substitute your info here or leave blank

(Your info here)

Enter the address of the congressman or senator here

Dear (Congressman or Senator)
(please be sure they match as I have messed up with multiple mailings.)

How would you like to wake up tomorrow morning and find that you had no
money, no ATM card, no credit cards, and no longer able to access your
bank account or obtain one?

That is exactly what may happen to thousands of people that like myself
have retired and chosen to live and travel in RV’s and boats. Many of us
have sold our homes to do so which has run afoul of the Patriot Act. I will not
list the whole document here but you may reference it here
(http://www.ffiec.gov/bsa_aml_infobase/pages_manual/olm_011.htm). In
ssence banking institution are required to shut down accounts for those of us
that use mail drops. I do not have an exact figure however one Mail Service
estimated the number in the tens of thousands. This also includes foreign
workers as well. I have not had anything but my boat and RV since 2002 and
travel considerably. I must have a central place for all my business and
personal mail as well as a way to pay my bills, file my taxes and generally
manage my financial life. Currently for myself and thousands like me there is
no solution. My home floats and is a Federally Documented Vessel and that
is the only address I have. The one I am writing from is borrowed and we
are about to leave our present location shortly.

We need a solution now, not platitudes and form letters I have already had
someone I know denied a bank account and I myself will not be able to
access my brokerage account or dividends which are part of my retirement
income. . The
Congress and Senate created this problem with an act that has been
ineffective in its intent but has developed numerous problems for your


Here is a list of legislators to start with. Please write to at least 5

Please feel free to include yours if they are not on the list.


Sen. Bill Nelson
225 East Robinson Street, Suite 410
Orlando, Florida 32801

Phone: (407) 872-7161
Fax: (407) 872-7165

Sen. Marco Rubio
8669 NW 36th Street, Suite 110
Miami, Florida 33166

Phone: (305) 418-8553

Sen. John McCain
5353 North 16th Street, Suite 105
Phoenix, Arizona 85016

Phone: (602) 952-2410
Fax: (602) 952-8702

Sen. Ted Cruz
300 E. 8th Suite 961
Austin TX 78701

Phone: (512) 916-5834

Sen. Roger Wicker
US Federal Courthouse
501 E. Court St. Suite 3-500
Jackson MS 39201

Phone: (601) 965-4644
FAX: (601) 965-4007


Rep. Corrine Brown
101 East Union Street, Suite 202
Jacksonville, Florida 32202

Phone: (904) 354-1652
Fax: (904) 354-2721

Rep. Kevin Brady
1300 11th St. Suite 400
Huntsville TX 77340

Phone: (936) 439-9532
FAX: (936) 439-9546

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson
Cedar Springs Plaza
3102 Maple Ave. Suite 600
Dallas TX 75201

Phone: (214) 922-8885

Rep.Gregg Harper
230 South Whitworth St.
Brookhaven MS 39601

Phone: (601) 823-3400
FAX: (601) 823-5512

Rep. Bennie G. Thompson
107 West Madison Street
Bolton MS 39041

Phone: (601) 866-9003

Again ---- I’ve put a lot of time and effort into this of which I’d rather have
used to work on my boat so please respect that.


May 2016

Time again for another newsletter. The month of May found us still land bound to take care of what we hope is the last of the medical issues.

Dawn finished her radiation treatments at the Bay Pines Veterans Medical Center in St. Petersburg Florida. During this time we were the guest of Comfort Inn in St. Petersburg for about 6 weeks. We learned a lot about St. Petersburg including that it must be entered as St. not Saint in the GPS! During the trips we visited Don’s Salvage for some boat parts. Some bows for a Bimini and other related parts were found.

While rummaging around some thrift shops a heavy duty Singer sewing machine was purchased for $20. The machine was totally complete with every accessory and even the owner’s manual. It is heavy duty enough to sew leather canvas and even multiple layers of sail cloth. This is going to allow us to do some much needed canvas work on our boat. We gave our old machine to the lady that took care of the breakfast area at the Comfort Inn. It was a good machine and almost new but just not powerful enough to sew more than 2 or 3 layers of canvas.

The last two weeks started to bother Dawn and the dose was increased so by the time we finished she had some skin issues.

Madera Beach was close to Bay Pines V A Hospital so we walked on the beach a few times. The room accommodations were very good and the routine was to go for dinner on Mondays and stop on the way home on Fridays. Breakfast was provided by the Motel and the days in between the facilities were available to cook and saved eating out for the 4 days. The Taste of India just down from the V A Hospital had a great lunch buffet!

The other favorites were O’Maddy’s in Gulf Port, Jack’s London Grill in ST. Petersburg, The Gondolier in Clearwater. We met friends twice at O’Maddy’s Nikko one week and Sue and Steve Rosen with son Ken and Chris who were flying out that day.

We made dinner at the Motel and invited Pat Uhl from the Sailing Club. It was a fun time seeing her and catching up with her and her new life!

The only sailing activities this month was checking out the Gulfport Marina, buying some Bimini bows at Don’s Salvage, and finishing the support bar that will house the solar cell. Having only 2 days each week to work for 6 weeks has produced an awful mess and crowded the work shed.

We decided to take a short vacation in Orlando and while we were there decided to exercise our option on a time share membership. So now we have the ability to stay in many places in other countries as well. It is very nice to get off the boat once in a while or after a long trip. The cost was highly discounted and we received a fabulous sign up bonus so as in The Godfather, “They made us a deal we couldn’t refuse!”

In the coming weeks we will be completing the above waterline work, so that we can empty out the work shed. The fresh water tank needs some repair so the manual pump line picks up water again. After that we will need to make a decision as to where to pull the boat out for bottom paint and final work to the head and holding tank system.

That is the news for this month. We have had a good time in St. Petersburg and Clearwater area but the drive has become a bit of a chore and we are going to enjoy staying on the boat for the next few weeks. The air conditioner has been hooked up and is working.

Please visit our web site at:

This month's photos and recipes.

April 2016

The month of April finds us still more or less land bound as Dawn finishes up radiation therapy following her breast surgery.

We finished one major project on the boat before she started. All the portlights on the boat have now been installed. The port side was relatively simple. One had to be redone as it still leaked. The caulk had some gaps. The starboard side was a different matter. Because the former owners attempted to seal them with the wrong material ( 3-M 5200) removing the old ports completely destroyed the inside paneling as well. After a trip to Miami to get a new teak panel and refitting new inside panels the new ports were installed. Luckily the weather held no rain during this process.

We will be in Saint Petersburg for 5 days each week now for Dawn’s radiation. Each day she reports to Bay Pines Veterans Hospital for an hour. The remaining time is used to explore the area.

This month's recipe and photos.

March 2016

There is a Thunder Storm brewing out there, so it figures to be a good time to write the newsletter.

Nothing particularly exciting for this month as we are still waiting to get the final results from Dawns test results on the 31st of this month. After that she will get one of 2 options. First Chemo and then Radiation or just Radiation. We hope it is the 2nd. However there will not be any travel until that is finished.

We were invited to the Turkey Creak Yacht Club picnic. One of the members drove his classic MGB. Many years ago I owned a 72 MGB-GT. seeing that one brought back a few memories.

The River Boat offers tours up river. They are quite reasonable and we would like to take one ourselves. They leave from Fort Myers if any are in the area and interested there web site is, jccruises.com

We have taken the time to do some “boat improvements” as some things were much needed for our comfort and use of the boat. We installed the new port lights (windows) on the port side first. That side had the worse of the bunch. The V-Berth and the Head had part of the hinge and the clamp missing. The head and v-berth was louvered so little water came in in all but all the worse downpours. The 2 in the salon had gasket and warpage. And were sealed with weather strip materials and couldn’t be opened. So now just in time for our wonderful spring weather we have a nice cross breeze and so far have not had to hook up the air conditioning unit. Also they are clear and provide a nice view. Next week we will replace the Starboard ones. The cabin is also being painted as well as the cockpit so the lady is starting to get her shine back, and NO LEAKS!

Next month will be Dawns Birthday. Hopefully she will get at least some good news for a present.

On my medical front the heart doctor has taken me off the blood pressure medicine and I will get 2 ultra sound test but all seems quite well.

We hope to get the bottom paint renewed and the head straightened out and then start taking some small trips after Dawn is clear.

I wrote this some time ago and feel since it is spring and because it fits our current situation I would share it with our readers.


Spring has passed this way again
It left this time a wake in its path.
The expectant life that wants renewed; Withered
The rain falls on dead leaves.
The hope of life still lies sleeping- waiting.
The tarnished moon floats masked with the wisps of clouds.
The promise of hope must be pulled from the earth.
There lies deep in my breast a chill.
Can summer bring enough to save the world?
Can the splendor of the night rekindle the lost flame?
Come drink with me the toast.
Pretend for a moment that life has never been before.
Rise up and cheat the jaws that imprison our souls.
The music of the night
Carefully, it must be guarded.
It must not be lost
The cost will be the existence, called fantasy.
That is all the life that is left.
Journey where the soul longs to be.
© Charles H. Smith 1997

This month's recipe and photos.

February 2016

February found us still docked for medical reasons.

Dawn had surgery to remove a growth on her breast. The surgery was successful There was no involvement with the lymph node and all the growth was completely removed. We went back to Bay Pines Veterans Hospital Wednesday the 24th for lab results and further instructions which will include radiation and endocrine therapy. The doctor was quite positive and Dawn
and I are feeling better about the results now.

Meanwhile I am continuing to slowly get back to normal myself and started some simple projects around the boat. I actually drove for the first time since my surgery and it was an interesting experience to say the least.

We are house sitting for our friends Steve and Sue while they spend time in Grand Cayman for their anniversary. We also want to thank Captain Doug and his wife Prudy for a great time. They treated us to a ride on the ferry he runs over to Palm Island and dinner at the Rum Bay restaurant while we were staying in Englewood.

Butch and Chris who own the slip where we have our boat gave us a gift certificate for Cracker Barrel restaurant so we stopped there for dinner on the way home from Clearwater. Special thanks to all of you.

I wish to thank also all the supportive members of The Englewood Sailing Association for their support, and friendship as well as helping us to get our lives back on track. A;; the members of the club are very special to us and it has been a great privilege to know and work with these people over the time we have been in Florida. Special thanks to Steve, Sue, John, Ron, John,
Hugh, Crag, Bruce, Andy, and anyone else that I may have missed. These people and their love for the club and teaching the kids sailing is remarkable.

We are actually advertising our venerable Volkswagen for sale as we hope to soon head for some island sailing. We have 3 main projects before leaving on any ocean trips. We must renew bottom paint, modify or refurbish the working of the head, and replace our ports. We have most of the materials it’s just a matter of getting them done.

We are docked in a great place because the boat yard is only a few miles upriver.
The trip will also allow us to learn if we finally solved our engine heating problems.
The medical issues have interrupted our flow of work so other than recovering we have not done much these last 2 months. Other than a road trip to Texas we have done little in the way of travel.

I would like to mention Doug’s project. He has developed a “Solar Trailer” that will provide up to 3.2KW as well as include a 3.5KW backup generator. The entire system folds and is a towable portable power house that can provide either emergency power to a home or power up a hunting cabin or camp. Photos of the prototype are included in this month’s newsletter. On the subject of photos it seems all my attempts to edit and name them have been thwarted by both windows and the E-Mail server but Dawn carefully arranges them in our web page with captions available by placing the mouse over the photos. http://www.ourdawntreader.com/

This month's recipe and photos.

January 2016

January took us on a road trip to Texas. My doctor has not released me to sail or drive so Dawn did all the driving! Sometimes following a GPS can provide some interesting and not always welcome deviations. We were directed along a shorter route but would have been more direct to stay on US-75 to connect with US-10 and probably the same time as we had many stops and small towns along the way as well as some two lane roads. It would not have been so bad if we were not trying to get to Pensacola the first night. That was our Half Way point and the next day we reached Jasper Texas. Our dinner stop the first night was in Tallahassee and Dawn found her favorite, a Chinese Buffett! The second day we had dinner at Steamboat Bills in Lake Charles LA. Great Cajun food naturally!

After resting up at Ron’s in Jasper we headed down to Port Isabel where I took my first sailboat. We stayed on Padre Island 2 nights while we explored the Texas Coast up to Corpus Christi. Along the way we found a great Mexican Restaurant in Victoria TX where they make everything fresh including their tortillas. If you are on Hwy. 59 out of Houston stop at La Carreta Taqueria 3501 Port Lavaca Dr. In Port Isabel the Pirate’s Landing is still a good seafood restaurant. However, if you get the Crab Louie order it with the dressing on the side!

We returned to Jasper for a day’s rest as just riding in the car was still hard even though it was 2months since surgery. On the way we stopped for dinner at Shrimp Boat Manny’s in Livingston TX which had the best Mahi Mahi and Jambalaya we’ve had in a long time.

We traveled up to McKinney TX to visit with our friends John and Linda stopping on the way for a brief visit with Ron Smith who had his Brother and oldest son David with him.

Ron and I shared many adventures with the rail dragster I raced briefly before returning to college. Hopefully next trip his wife Patty will be around and we can have a longer visit. Both of them are involved with Faire and travel around a lot.

We took2 days getting home from Texas and did find a cute little town on the way that is close to us and we will explore it at a different time. When we arrived home the boats tarp suffered from the high winds so we removed it completely and was rewarded with winds in the 409 knot range and temperatures in the 30’s. However today is back to sunny and 70’s which is why we like Florida!

Again to remind everyone that if you wish to stop receiving our newsletter just reply with unsubscribe in the header and also to visit our web page at www.ourdawntreader.com and have a great year!

December 2015

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all our readers.

We have no sailing news this month as I am still under doctor’s care for the bypass and have not been released to go back to our boat. However, the last 2 months have been interesting.

We want to extend special thanks to Steve and Sue Rosen who opened their home to us for the duration of December when our other arrangement fell through. Also Butch and Chris, the Englewood Sailing Association and our friends and relatives for their moral support through my bypass operation and recovery process. Especially Sue who sat through the operation with Dawn for moral support.

We postponed a planned trip to Texas however hopefully soon we will be able to make the trip.

As the year comes to a close we have much to be thankful for and of course much to look forward to as well. One thing I am especially thankful for is that I was able to finish the heavy work on the trawler and most of mine before I was hospitalized. The boat was moved to its new home early this month. If anyone wants a reasonable slip in Florida it is available. Just contact us and we will pass your information on. It is located about half way between Fort Myers and Lake Okeechobee in fresh water and will accommodate up to 60 to 65 foot boats.

Our own boat has only a few more things to be prepared for blue water cruising. As soon as I get released from the doctor we are going to take the boat up to the boat yard to renew the bottom paint, check all through hulls and valves, bring the head and plumbing up to current Coast Guard standards, and generally give a good look see as well as a new survey. We have made many improvements to Dawn Treader and our insurance needs to reflect the added value. Something every boat owner should be aware of.

We also wish to thank all of our readers and visitors to our web page

www.ourdawntreader.com and also remind everyone that to unsubscribe just return with unsubscribe in the subject line. We also would like to hear from all of you and hope your Christmas and New Year is great!

I have had some people mention that the photo names do not show so here is a run-down on this month’s photos

1-3 My early walks in Pine Island. 4-10 The little business district in Pine Island. 11-14 Photos from our Host’s yard. 15-20 Farlow’s Restaurant in Englewood. Not only is the atmosphere great the food is even better. 20 View of the Gulf from Pine Island

This month's photos and recipe

November 2015
Thanksgiving Addition

This month there is little to report on our boat. We had a big surprise.
I wound up in Sarasota Memorial Hospital for a triple bypass on November 9th.
I have a huge “thank you” for everything in our life.

First a big thank you for to Ilie and Sue, for loaning us their house on Pine Island to recover in. For Steve and Sue Rosen for letting Dawn stay with them in Englewood during my hospital stay. Also thanks to all of you that sent kind thoughts and prayers our way.

Second I am so very thankful that all the heavy work on Ilie’s boat and Dawn Treader was pretty much finished before my clogged artery was discovered.

Third and most important to the entire staff at Sarasota Memorial Hospital for the great job and services. My surgeon, Dr. Jeffrey Sell, was also the head of Thoracic Surgery. The fact that I had no symptoms leading up to this is especially dangerous, so I consider myself most fortunate. The doctor estimates 2 months for full recovery and there are some projects waiting for me.

Dawn has been working on the web site so please give it a visit at www.ourdawntreader.com also if you no longer wish to receive our newsletter just respond with “unsubscribe” in the header.

This month has been one to reflect on our goals and to just generally enjoy life. Dawn is getting to bake a whole turkey for Thanksgiving as we have a full size oven for the first time in 3 years. We would also love to hear from all of you about your Thanksgiving!

This month I have included an early story about the start of the kayak adventures. By 2003 I had constructed a kayak and traveled down the Missouri river for an early retirement celebration, however the beginnings were a tad turbulent.

My introduction to kayaking was a little turbulent. I was loaned a sit-on-top
for a trip across Morro Bay to have a picnic on the sand spit. Loaded with
the necessary goodies my tutor and I put in at the marina and pushed off. I
promptly went sprawling head first into the bay. Thankfully it was a warm day in late June and I soon dried. However I learned two things: one, kayaks do turn over and two, kayaks are paddled differently than a canoe.

It needs to be stated here and now that I am not quite in Olympic condition.
The intended destination across the bay appeared less than a quarter mile,
but halfway there I was wondering if I would make it. My partner, who I might add had the food, was way out ahead. I was starting to figure out how to make the kayak go, but wondered how the wind could practically stop
something this low to the water anyway?

Time was something that passed unnoticed because of the panic felt each
time the kayak rocked. I just knew I was about to get dunked again. At low
tide the water was quite shallow out of the boat channel and I seriously
considered getting out and walking. Only the fear of looking like a big wimp
stopped me.

We did two more training trips. One was another short paddle across the
bay to watch fireworks on the 4th of July. The other was for a picnic with a
couple that paddled a canoe. Wondering if the adage two is better than one
applied to paddling, it came as a pleasant surprise that the kayaks glided
along with the canoe. This time the trip was all the way around the bay,
almost to the breakwater. This is when I decided we had to do some touring.

Camping is not new to me, but 5 years of sag had left me in less than ideal
condition. I wanted to do an overnight trip free of advanced rapids. I had a
strong desire to include the ocean. At this time I had never been out of the
bay. My partner attempted to bring reason into the plans. We can learn as
we go became my battle cry.

The Russian River came to mind. I remember camping on its banks several
years ago during a photo trip. My partner was a little dubious and concerned about what lessons we might learn on the way, but was also a great sport about my willingness to barge right in. We became partners in crime. With time to plan we found a great book; Guide to Sea Kayaking Central and Northern California.

We started in Morro Bay for a couple of practice sessions, packed the
camping gear, loaded the kayaks, and headed north. The first stop was the
Elkhorn Slough, which is just above the bay in Monterey. My total kayaking
experience at this time was 5 short trips in a protected bay. This was to be
the first experience with tricky ocean tides. The trip turned out to be a calm
5-mile paddle up to a place called Kirby Park. There were sea lions on the
bank, seals swimming in the distance, and otters that would swim up and
take a look to see what was going on. My partner was the first to spot the
jellyfish. They have such an interesting way of propelling through the water. I worried a little about accidentally wrapping one of the translucent creatures around the paddle, as the sting would be quite painful. Returning to wave action that was enough to be interesting, the total trip was about 10 miles and took close to 5 or 6 hours including a food stop.

The campground at Sunset Beach State Park was booked, so we headed to
Morgan Hill to dry things out for a couple of days before going on to the
Russian River. Considering that we made no reservations and arrived in late evening each time we were lucky to have a campsite. My original idea was to stay at a campground in Duncan Mills that was on the Russian River, and close to the ocean. That was not to be as it was now a private campground, so we went on to one near Cloverdale. We arrived, keeping with our new tradition of setting up the tent in the dark, and settled in.

After scouting the river we decided to work our way up to see how far we
could get. We encountered the first set of rapids that helped me learn power
paddling. There I was going absolutely nowhere and paddling like a windmill.
One of our party of two was greatly amused. We drifted down and put in to
see if we could find passage past this great obstacle. I think it would be
about a class 2 maybe, but to us it was the right stuff. We paddled around
talking for a while and patting ourselves on the back for being the intrepid
explorers. That evening we had a spirited discussion about how to get past
that first obstacle with all the seriousness of explorers about to insult

The next morning, fortified with the great breakfast served at the campground chuck wagon, we packed lunch and loaded up for “The Assault”. At this time the only thing I knew about rescue was that you called 911! However that was soon to change. We traversed that first obstacle by grabbing the bushes and holding the kayaks as we got out, then towing the kayak past the rushing water.

Once past those rapids the river was wider and slowed enough to merrily
paddle on to the next. I learned how to really dig in for short bursts to get
past the stronger currents. My partner was keeping up and all was well.
Then one of us became a little too confident. The bow got sideways in the
current. Had I known about something called a brace I could have saved it.
Why the term rescue? Because all the stuff that floats away must be saved
as well as getting the kayak righted and back on or in. Miraculously my
glasses were perched on my chest still held by the strap, but all else was
heading back downstream. My partner rescued my paddle, hat, water bottle,
and now empty coke can that I had been casually sipping just moments
before. We did on the fly, paddle pass without dumping again. Good time for a lunch break we decided, and beached.

That is when I discovered why you don’t wear cotton shirts. Shivering while the food was unpacked we were thankful for the warm sun, and the food helped relieve the cold. At least I had managed to re-mount my kayak and maneuver well enough to get my paddle back. Had I been alone the paddle would have stopped miles away. As we consumed our rations a few people in rental kayaks came by. After cheerfully waving we secretly shared the assurance that they were not real explorers, having been transported up river.

Undaunted, the two intrepid explorers were ready for more. After a side trip to Mendocino for scouting (and shopping) the next destination was
Bridgehaven Campground. The East Indian restaurant across the street was
the most redeeming feature, aside from the camp’s location on the river, two
miles from the ocean. We decided to again go up river first and constantly
amazed ourselves at the ease of our progress. We stopped at a beach
upriver and had a little debate about our location.

It seemed highly improbable that we arrived at Duncan Mills so quickly as it was 3 miles. It seemed that these miles passed so quickly. Continuing
upriver the next stop was Monte Rio. This became our turn around point, as
the winds were now contrary. Arriving back at Bridgehaven we completed an 18-mile trip. We even had some daylight left. This was enough to give us a great sense of accomplishment.

The next day I sat out alone toward the ocean. Even at 10:00 AM a light mist settled over the surface of the water. I felt compelled to just keep going. With the last of my film exposed I beached to secure the camera for the return trip. Coincidence put me in view of patrons of a cafe`. Perhaps, when pushing off, I paddled just a tad more vigorous than normal. Perhaps no one even noticed, but I held the pace all around the bend. Just in case!

It was here at the mouth of the Russian River that I made a new friend, and
we moved with new grace over the water. This was the last time paddling on this trip. Even though I was ready to strike out across the expanse of the
open ocean my partner was level headed enough to convince me there was
still much to learn first. However we had a delightful trip and our knowledge and experience grew tremendously. I also knew I was going to need some new clothes, something in stylish polypropylene

This month's recipe and photos.

News from the Dawn Treader
(Halloween Edition)

Vampire Boat

October 2015

Perhaps it should have been apparent when the first time the boat and I came together on that eerie day in October; I was attacked. It was subtle not enough that one would notice. However, over time and with the boldness of familiarity the attacks have become not only more frequent but more extensive. Always the purpose of these attacks is to -------- Ingest human blood! Yes we have discovered our boat is a Vampire! It has taken us 3 years to discover the true nature of our beast. Oh! It has been sneaky about it, but nevertheless finally the evidence has confirmed our suspicions.

Every time there is any interaction with it there is spilling of blood! This may sound crazy to some that do not believe that a boat is a living thing, but we now know and yet the knowing has not saved us from our fate. Our boat is crafty and manages to overcome all preventions. What? You say! Impossible? Just view the evidence. Even the simplest jobs have resulted in a blood sacrifice of minor to OH MY God – I need stiches! Never have they actually been life threatening, after all a Vampire never wants to kill its victim and loose its supply of blood! Examples you ask? Easy as there are so many! Replace a screw on the anti-chafe plate----screwdriver slips ----Bang a bleeding palm. Coincidence? If it was a single incident but no! This is regular as clockwork. Replace a bilge pump; mysteriously the mount slipped sidewise before the epoxy set just enough to wedge on the way out. Result? Scraped hand, cut thumb, and a slit finger all bleeding into the bilge. Even the simple act of stepping off the boat produced a gash of epic proportions! It is all but healed but fear of leaving still haunts our thoughts. I have tried working with garlic cloves around my neck. Carried a silver stake and all other Vampire slaying items to no avail. Mysteriously we’ve never been attacked in the salon or other living areas. We have come to an easy peace as we have no other home. I have just had to realize that I will bleed occasionally to satisfy the blood lust.

When I started this it was raining! The day before it rained on and off all day. Have just one more thing to add to the davits and the rain is slowing the work. It has been a long and sometimes frustrating summer with many thunderstorms but thankfully only 2 hurricanes, neither of which caused us any more than a lot of rain and some winds that were just a tad bit high. Lost one tarp in the process but in all, no particular damage. The work has been intense but Dawn Treader is just about prepared for bluewater cruising. For those of you contemplating buying a boat or engaging in a similar lifestyle, it is worth noting that a careful survey and knowledge of boats in general will cut down but not eliminate the work preparing a boat. The price paid for the boat may not always reflect readiness for travel. I have found through the years of living and traveling on sailboats that usually the net cost is about the same for a “work in progress” or Bristol boat. The money you save buying the “fixer upper” is usually spent on materials and there is the time factor. We have been at it for 3 years now. Even a brand new. Never been sailed, boat will have expenses as they need many things such as RADAR, GPS, VHF Radio and a host of other things normally found in a good used boat.

The ONE great advantage to a boat that is sound and seaworthy but needs work, is that when the process is over the owner will KNOW the systems and workings of the boat and in general will be able to handle emergencies out on the open ocean and will have a much safer cruise.

In our case Dawn Treader has forced us to have that kind of intimacy through all the problems and repairs, and I know that in spite of the frustrations that this familiarity may not have happened as like most people I do not readily voluntarily subject myself to torture!

The Photos this month are mostly about the upgrades performed on Dawn Treader. We made one trip to Daytona and spent a lot of time at The Marine Trading Post in Fort Myers and Port Charlotte. They have 4 Locations but for the best deals on used parts Fort Myers was the best.

It is getting into the best weather for sailing in our area and we are pretty much ready to do our last pull out before heading back to salt water.

Hopefully the photo problem is solved please let me know if they still appear sideways for non-Windows 8 users and please visit our web page


This month's recipe and photos.

September 2015

LATE Late late

This month on the Dawn Treader has been mostly busy, uneventful, and somewhat boring! The projects for the month have been davits and upgrades to our cockpit.

The winches have been removed for servicing and the wood trim on the cockpit refinished. The installation of the davits and final cockpit paint has been postponed for next month. We made a trip to Clearwater for a visit to Don’s Salvage and Tarpon Springs. We bought parts at Don’s and Dinner at Tarpon Springs. There are two reasons for this. The first is the weather. We have had rain nearly every day this month. The second is because we took a trip to Daytona for 3 days. We wish to thank our friend Joanne for sharing her time share with us!

While in Daytona we visited the Light House at Ponce (mosquito inlet). It rained on and off most of the day but we still had a great time exploring the grounds and climbing to the top of the lighthouse. It was just over 200 steps to the top. After that we visited the Daytona International Speedway in hopes of visiting a museum, however it has been closed.

Dinner for two of the nights was at Joe’s Crab Shack at the end of the pier, and the Crusin’ Café where we sat in NASCAR race cars that were made into tables. The food in both places was great.

We still have a few projects on the trawler but that work is also winding down.

It is getting near the end of the hurricane season and starting to have cooler
weather. Hopefully next week all the projects will be finished and we will take
a run up the river and prepare for the final pull out to refresh bottom paint and work on the plumbing as well as test all through hulls.

This month's recipe and Photos.

August 2015

Knots Continued...

Rolling Hitch

The rolling hitch comes to the rescue when riding turns jam a line on a winch drum. This hitch is designed not to slip. Use an extra line to tie a rolling hitch on the standing portion of a jammed line, shift the load to the extra line and you can free the jammed line. The rolling hitch will also keep any line secured to a vertical cylindrical object, such as a stanchion, from slipping. It can also be used to form an adjustable noose that doesn’t slip under load, which is handy when securing tie-downs for an awning on deck. The Boy Scouts use the same knot to tension lines secured to tent pegs, only they call it a taut line hitch.

Wrap a line twice around another fixed line or post. Take a third turn by passing the working end of the first line over its standing end and then around the second line above the first two turns. Pull on the standing part of the first line and the hitch will not slip down the second line.

Cleat Hitch

Walk down a dock in any marina and you will see many dock lines improperly secured to cleats. A proper cleat hitch is easy to tie, very effective and it can be released under load without worrying about losing a finger in the process. Any time you make off a line on a cleat, on a dock or on deck, this is the knot to use.

As you gain experience, you will begin to recognize families of knots that are related. For example, two half hitches and the cleat hitch are really clove hitches: the former is tied on the standing end of a line, while the latter is bent around the horns of a cleat. As you practice tying these seven essential knots, you will immediately recognize the look and shape of the knot when made correctly, and more important, will recognize when you have tied it incorrectly.

Take one full turn around the base of the cleat, leading the line so that its standing part runs clear of the cleat. Then take a figure-eight turn around first one horn of the cleat, then the other. On the final turn pass the line under itself and pull it tight.


Want to learn more about knot tying? Check out The Pocket-Sized Guide, The Above and Beyond Guide, and The See-it-to-Learn-it Guide:

For those who prefer visual learning, Fair Wind Sailing School’s “Knots So Fast” video series may be your ticket to knot-tying success. In 2-3 minute videos, Capt. Dave Bello provides in-depth lessons on tying what he calls “the nine most critical knots in sailing”: the cleat hitch, reef knot, sheet bend, clove hitch, round turn & two half hitches, figure 8, rolling hitch, bowline and truckers hitch. The first 2-minute video is free and discusses knotting terminology. The second video, “The Figure Eight Knot” is also free. After that, videos can be purchased for $2.95 apiece, or $12.95 for all 10. All videos are shot in high def with dual-angle filming, meaning the viewer sees the knot from two perspectives: overhead and straight on. Once purchased, the videos are yours to watch and re-watch until you’re satisfied.

Now that the last essential knots are finished it is time to move on to what’s new with Dawn Treader.

This month more repair and beautification has been in progress. The photos show the process for repairing the delaminated core in the cockpit. The core is sandwiched between two layers of Fiberglas and in our case is plywood. The top floor was cut and removed first. Then the old wood was cleared out and replaced with a composite core material. Two rows of the wood were left in and sealed with penetrating Epoxy to position the regluing of the floor. Then a layer of Fiberglas mat was laid to seal the bottom of the cockpit. Nida-core was used for core replacement as it was about the same thickness as the original wood. Another product that is good for this kind of repair is Divini-cell. Both are light weight but stronger and superior to wood. Then another layer of Fiberglas Mat and 12 oz Fiberglas Cloth was used to build up to the original thickness. Using a mixture of wood flour and epoxy about the consistency of mayonnaise the original floor was replaced and large heavy blocks were placed to keep it in its proper place. All that is left is to install nonskid paint and it will look new again.

The wood trim is also being refinished and next month hopefully there will be photos of the new look in our cockpit.

One more major project is scheduled for the boat. I am designing and building davits out of composite material using similar materials. The projected cost for materials is between $500 and $600 but will be labor intensive. However I have priced davit kits at around $1,200 and they still need to be fitted and welded to the boat. Hopefully the construction will lend itself to downsizing for even smaller boats. Stay Tuned

This month's Recipe and photos

July 2015 

July was another month of mostly work on the Dawn Treader.

This month we have done a lot of wood refinishing, replaced the mast seal, the sound deadening for the engine compartment, and general cleanup.

We took time to go to Englewood to work with the Englewood Sailing Association for the Sailing Camp. We stayed with our friends Steve and Sue Rosen who are also members. The last day included a BBQ and the students taking their parents out for a sail.

We had a quiet BBQ on our boat for the4th of July. We tested the engine once again and as soon as I replace some lights on the mast we will be taking a short trip to test out all the repairs. Dawn Treader is getting closer to being ready for a Blue Water Cruise.

Our Cruising Tip this month comes from Sail Magazine


Seven Essential Knots for Sailors

4 This Month 3 next month


Once you cut a piece of rope off the spool at the chandlery and bring it aboard your boat and give it a job to do, it becomes a line you have put to work. Whatever job it is performing—whether it becomes a jibsheet, a fender whip or a dockline—there is an ideal knot, hitch or bend for its given task.

Types of knots fall into three general categories. The first are those tied on the end of a line and are commonly called “knots,” such as the bowline knot and the stopper knot. The second category are those used to join two lines together. They may have “bend” in their name, as in a sheet bend, because to bend, in sailor talk, means to join. The last group are those which secure a line to a cleat, piling or stanchion, and they are known as “hitches.”

If you didn’t learn knots when you were young, you can still master them quickly. The key is to learn what a given knot should look like when completed, then practice tying it until you can do it with your eyes closed. When studying knots, it helps to know some terms. The ends of a line are referred to as either “working” or “standing.” The working end is free, while the standing end is secured to something. A loop formed in a line is known as a bight.


The most useful knot aboard a sailboat is the bowline. It forms a fixed noose at the end of a line that cannot run or slip and is commonly used, for example, to secure sheets to the clew of a headsail. Two bowlines can also be used to connect two lines. The great advantage of a bowline is that no matter how tight it becomes after being loaded for a while, it can always be easily untied.

The well known ditty for tying a bowline runs as follows: “The rabbit comes out of the hole, goes around back of the tree, and then jumps back into the hole.” The “rabbit” is the working end of the line; the “hole” and “tree” are formed in the standing end. To finish the knot properly, give a hard pull on the tree and the rabbit’s ears at the same time, so the shape of the knot is not deformed. To untie a bowline, turn the knot over and break its back by bending it downward.

Form a closed loop in the line, with the working end passing over the standing end. Pass the working end through the loop, around behind the standing end, then back into the loop. Give a hard pull to close the knot up tight. To untie a bowline, turn the knot over and break its back by bending it downward.


Stopper Knot

To keep a line from pulling through a block or rope clutch, a knot should be tied in the end of it. The most secure knot for doing this is the double overhand stopper knot, known as the stopper knot for short. Unlike a simple overhand knot or a figure eight knot, this knot does not come loose easily.

The easiest way to tie a true stopper knot is by using your hand as a form. Just loop the end of the line twice around the palm of your hand, tuck the working end under the two loops, and then pull the loops off your hand. Once you try it, you’ll never use a figure eight again.

Working back to front, pass the working end twice around the palm of your open hand. After you’ve got two full wraps, pass the working end under the wraps on your palm away from your thumb. Then use the end to pull the knot tight as it slips off your hand.


Take one full turn around the object the line is being secured to. Then pass the line over itself as you take another turn. Finish the knot by tucking the working end under itself and pull tight.

Sheet Bend

Many sailors use a square knot when tying two lines together, but these often come loose when not under load. The sheet bend is more secure, is easy to untie and works much better when two lines of unequal diameter need to be tied together. As you can see in the illustration, its final form is only slightly different from a square knot, though it is tied quite differently.

Form a bight in the end of one line. Pass the end of the other line through the bight from beneath and around behind both parts of the first line. Finish the knot by passing the working end of the second line under itself, then pull the knot tight.

Two Half Hitches

This knot has a self-explanatory name: one half hitch, followed by another half hitch. It is easy to tie and forms a running noose that can be made larger or smaller. This is the perfect hitch to use to tie a line tightly around an object. Combined with a round turn, it is an excellent way to secure a dock line to a piling. Tying two half hitches on top of a clove hitch is also the best way to keep a fender whip from slipping.

Pass the line twice around the object it is being secured to. Then tie one hitch on top of the turns by passing the working end of the line behind the standing end and pulling it through. Repeat to tie the second hitch. You can tie two half hitches without taking turns first, but they are less secure this way.

This month's recipe and Photos

June 2015

It’s almost the end of June and it has been a very busy month of working on boats. No travel just hard work.

We have one of Dawn’s favorite recipes and some photos from a few trips back when we were in the Pacific Ocean, some of our places around town, and the parts that I made to improve below deck storage. The Photos of Ilie’s 65 Foot Trawler show the contrast of the simplicity of our sailboat. The rest of this and next month’s projects include sealing the mast, installing new ports, and replacing the delaminated cockpit core. Getting Ilie’s boat systems up will also be part of the work schedule. We will be taking a run up river soon to check out all the mechanical repairs. We are continuing work on Ilie’s Trawler however, the work is moving inside to enable the boat to be used for extended stays at sea. The weather is getting hot and humid so there are no long trips planned as we do not have Air Conditioning in the V W or a generator aboard Dawn Treader.

The story this month is for all our non-boating friends that worry about our weather in Florida.

We have survived 2 hurricane seasons and the only damage has been to a cheap tarp and the connection for our shore water connection which pulled out from surge tide because our hose was a bit too short!
Enjoy this month's recipe and Photos.

This is a journal of a delivery from 2006 that two of us did with a Hunter from Los Angeles, California to Seattle, Washington. With all the misadventures never at any time was our lives in danger. A few times it felt like it butt through it all many of the things I feared about never came to pass. It is a bit long but will give you some insight why we do not worry when tied safely to our dock.

Boat Delivery Journal 2006

8/16 Left Wilmington early AM. and headed out on a 42 foot Hunter which the owner bought from a liquidator and wanted to take to Washington State. We passed Ventura under power as the wind was on the nose which would be the case for almost the entire trip. We motored through the night and docked in Santa Barbra about 0200 the following day.

8/17 Met a boat coming down from San Francisco that told us about the conditions at Point Conception. They were returning from Hawaii Transpac race in a 50 foot and experienced a slight knock down. So we checked on the weather and the predictions were for 27 knot winds and it is always confused seas there because that is where the two currents meet. So we waited the day in SB.

8/18 Weather reported high winds so we stayed another day and walked around Santa Barbra and did some shopping.

8/19 Left the bay under sail. I had suggested it would not be long before we had to furl them as the winds were still north. I felt it would be best to have every thing secured down for Point Conception. One of the battens started coming out of the front of the sail. I had to shimmy up the mast to retrieve it. We stowed it below.

We hit Point Conception about 2000 hours and The owner took the first watch.
It was rough choppy seas and the winds felt about 20+knots. The boat slowed to about 2 to 3 knots (about 4 to 5 MPH) When I came up for my watch I noticed that the coarse he set was right dead into the wind. I headed up about 10 degrees and things got much better but still it was rough but not butting directly into the currents. My watch was ended early (He could not sleep) and we really got hit as we rounded the point into Aguello.

8/20 After the point things quieted somewhat but we hit fog almost all the way into Morro Bay. Actually it followed us in and as we were docking another boat was escorted in by the Coast Guard Cutter. Tied up hit the head and then the bed.

8/21 Reports of possible gale force winds kept us at Morro Bay however we discovered that the fuel filter replacement cartridge leaked. It leaked about 35 of the 50 Gallons that we fueled up the previous day. So we pumped and filtered it into jerry cans and saved the worse for emergency fuel (WE never used it more later)

8/22 Waited another day for weather enjoyed the hamburger BBQ at the Morro Bay Yacht Club.

8/23 Left Morro in AM. Stopping at the fuel dock and the oily bilge pump out station. First signs of my partners experience started surfacing when the currents kept taking the boat beyond the dock and almost rammed us into the
fishing boats.

After a panicked third attempt he handed over the helm to me to get us out of the scrape. Which was rather dicey as the drift rate had taken us to about 3 feet of the fishing fleet docked adjacent to the pump out station. Thankfully that boat backed better than my Ericson or the Endeavour. We left after getting the rest of the diesel out of the bilge but it smelled a bit for 2 days after.

8/24 After a night of relative calm we arrived in Half Moon Bay just south of San Francisco. We had to dodge the anchored boats in the bay at night and docked about 1030 hours (8:30 to landlubbers grin)

8/25 We walked into town (Just a mile or 2 --) which turned out to be more like 5. It was at this point Richard decided to give it up and take the boat into San Francisco and have it trucked up to Seattle. However John offered to take it up for him and keep me on as first mate, I doubt if Richard will ever know what a good deal he got and as John said it is too bad that he did not stay with us as he would have learned so much not only about his boat but just sailing in general. However it was in Half Moon that I discovered that Richards first open ocean experience was this trip.

8/26 Waited for John to arrive and Richards’s wife Julia came down from Washington to see the boat for the first time. I dinked around in town for 3 or 4 hours while they had there reunion.

8/27 John and I decided to go on out rather than wait so we bid farewell to Richard and Julia and Half Moon Bay and headed out on the sunset. It was a pretty one as well.

8/28 Traveled through the night and had organized 4 hour watches for the first time. A mark of John’s professionalism.

8/29 Arrived at Eureka (Humboldt Bay) and got a Coast Guard escort into the complex. Our pilot book showed the first of its erroneous entries. It would have had us turn right into a fishing fleet rather than going upriver to the guest dock at the marina which was about 4 miles up from the commercial docks. We tied up got our Courtesy Inspection from the Coast Guard and they suggested a Denny’s as we were rather hungry. However when we walked the 3 miles to the place we discovered they were going to close for 2 hours to shampoo the carpets. Just missing the closing of Mc Donalds and Burger King we went back to the boat and I cooked some fried potatoes and heated up some Worthington Vegi Salisbury Steak. We were so starved at this point they actually tasted like meat to us ---- well close enough.

8/30 We went to the Burger King for Breakfast called the owner fueled up did some last minute shopping and left. I got foggy at the entrance and beyond which was to become the standard condition for pretty much most of the remaining trip.

We broke out of fog about 1500 and it was so calm the ocean looked like a mirror. I went below to do a little reading and relaxing as my watch had ended.

About an hour later I heard John put out the jib and wondered why as there was no wind at all when I went below. However soon it was apparent that there was some as the boat started to heal more …. And more … and more and I found my self standing in my sleeping bag. So I started up to see and John yelled down for me to put on my foulies. (Rain –Foul Weather Gear) when I got up we were healed over almost to the rail and the waves were building very fast. We thought about a run with the wind to find some place that may offer shelter but the coast was mostly rocky cliffs and so we turned and ran out. The engine would not even hold the boat so had we not had the sails up we would have floundered. I think the overall noise was what impressed me and for the first 15 minutes or so I went for abject horror to great fear and wondered how they would find our bodies. Actually it was not really that bad after I got used to the noise and the shear power of the wind tearing at the shrouds and lines.
When I realized that the boat was doing just fine and was actually built for this I settled down. John was rather busy but had time to be amused and to make a few jokes as well. This went on from 1700 to 2130. we were charging along at 7 to 9 knots but only making 3 knots forward progress because to sail one must be at least 30 degrees off the wind direction. So we tacked out than back in as close to shore as we dared than back out. After we rounded Point Blanco The 17 foot waves subsided some but the wind stayed most of the night. John went below for much needed rest as his watch had been extended while we battled the winds and waves. Later we discovered that we had about 30 knot winds. Our only worry was we saw the stitching starting to work loose from the clue of the sail. That holds the sheets (rope that controls the sail) The sheets were stretch so tight that you could visibly see the difference in the diameter between the sail and the wenches.

Actually when it was over and I had the boat back on auto pilot it was most interesting. The most exciting night of the whole trip actually.

8/31 (See Above)

9/1 Arrival at Coos Bay was going to be a welcome rest --- we thought. About 5 miles out the engine started slowing then quit. We put out the sail but very little wind. We wound up being towed in and by the graciousness of the Tow Boat
Captain they took Richards tow insurance. We did not know he was supposed to be on the boat. It would have cost about $1200 for the tow. We got squared away and the tow captain gave us a ride to the Chandlery to get new fuel filters and a hat replacement that John lost out there someplace. Had great fish and chips here as well.

9/2 Leaving we fueled up and discovered the vent was blocked and thought that may have caused the engine stoppage. It wasn’t because about 2 hours out the engine stopped again. No fuel would flow out of the filter so we
disassembled it cleaned it and nothing. After working on it about 4 hours and close to sunset we decided to jury rig one of the jerry cans of fuel directly to the engine. That worked until we discovered we forgot the return line goes into
the tank and fuel was rapidly disappearing. John started using a suction pump to draw fuel out of the tank and discovered after a lot of trial and cleaning that it was the primary line from the tank that clogged. He got it free again and hooked it all up. We had great relief when the engine started and kept running.
Our chart plotter had all the squiggly lines from the boat just drifting around while we worked on it was sort of laughable but we decided to stop at Newport rather than go on to Tillamook as was planned originally.

9/3 Arrived Newport and called owner to see about repairs on the sail. Had lunch at the Micro Brewery.

9/4 Waited in Newport until the owner came and had the sail repaired as it was severely blown out.

9/5 Owner drove down from Washington to take sail to get repairs. Weather projections were grim and several other boats were waiting for passage out.
Fun town though with a free shuttle to and from the marina. We went shopping and had some lunch in town. Owner returned with a well repaired sail and we all went to dinner at a micro brewery down from the boat slips.

9/6 Left Newport even though the weather report still seemed unreliable. We had rather high winds and some rough seas.

9/7 Arrived Tillamook at 0200 however the Coast Guard had us wait until 0630 so there would be high enough tide to enter the bay and the marina. Another long sleepless night as we catnapped in the cold and damp of the cockpit.

9/8 Still funky weather reports. Went to town got hair cuts.

9/9 Weather reports still bad but a boat that came south told us there was almost no wind so we decided to leave on the tide in the AM

9/10 Weather was still projecting gale force wind but kept moving it back a day so we left at 1030 on the tide. Passed the Columbia River in rather rough choppy seas with some North-West wind. Enough to run the sail to stabilize the boat some.

9/11 Still in fog at sea but decided to run for the sound as we were still not sure of the weather possibilities and at least the fog is calm and we were pushing up to 5 and 6 knots.

9/12 We made Neah Bay fog as we entered the straight between Vancouver Island and Washington but it cleared before we arrived. Docked quickly and slept.

9/13 Headed to Port Angeles. Arrived in Fog Again. Came up on a freighter and heard the bells before we could see it. However as we passed the last of the 3 big freighters anchored and started to turn toward the marina the fog cleared for us to dock. Went to a family restaurant in town and the food was ok but the service was terrible. Tipped the waitress any way but boy what a sourpuss, however in her defense we may have looked like homeless with all our coats and the terrible cap I bought for $10 to keep my head warm, blood shot eyes, and the damp fog wet state of our general appearance.

9/13 Left Port Angeles in the FOG after taking 2 hours to change the fuel filters and clear out the lines again. Dearly hope the owner has that cleaned as there is something in there that should be removed --- maybe even alive??

We had fog clean until almost Seattle. We got to see a total of 3 islands and the Seattle Night Skyline. Most impressive.

9/14 Arrived in Port Orchard at 0120 with the owner waving a flashlight at the dock. Which of coarse we could not see for all the other lights. Was an interesting trip down the straight as we hit currents and eddies that slowed us to about 2 knots. You can walk faster than that. Also we got a call about ever 15 minutes from the owner telling us such useful things. Like the ferry we saw go into the port was docked and might leave at any minute --- which is what
they do.

We managed to meet the ferry in the narrowest part of the channel. However, we got the boat to its destination safe and sound and no worse for wear. In fact we repaired several things in transit. Owner took us to his home for the night.
Felt weird to sleep in something that did not move.

9/15 Took the ferry to Seattle to visit John’s son David and went to dinner with him, his girl friend and Michelle, John’s youngest daughter who at the ripe old age of 22 has her Masters and is working on a medical certificate in some
counseling disorders. However, we talked mostly of the Hitch Hikers Guide to the Galaxy.

9/16 Flew home in 3 hours the distance we covered in a month proving that sailing truly is the fine art of getting wet and becoming ill while slowly going nowhere at great expense!

Actually it was a terrific experience and my sailing experience and desires have increased light-years. John is such a competent teacher and partner and was also quite humorous. It was one of the best times of my life.

May 2015

7 things you don’t want to know about boat life

1. Sometimes, it’s going to get gross.

Everything that comes out of you and goes into the boat, well, it’s not going to stay in the boat. Pumping out your yacht’s holding tank will be a lengthy and fetid process. It’s a task that when able to be skimped from that eternal chore list will be. When your boat’s moored, it’s probably going to be far enough away from the pumping station to be inconvenient, so anything you flush down the head will go stay and fill the tank. When your boat buddy, or any neighbor in the bay, uses the head while you’re enjoying your morning swim, it’ll be best to stay focused on your enchanting turquoise aquarium yard instead. Pumping in the bay is also illegal but some do it anyway.

2. You’re going to eat a lot of canned food.

You won’t want to think about or see, let alone eat out of, a can again. A swimmable front lawn may seem like a fair trade for a strictly canned menu, but there will be days when your diet alone will convince you cruising life sucks. Yes, it’s simple. Yes, it’s lovely. But, yes, it gets old. Thoughts of freshly picked greens and cold beer will consume your mind more than you ever thought possible. You’ll dream about catching a fish, or buying a refrigerator — but then something will break, and your funds and fishing time will go toward purchasing and installing some crucial and expensive new thing that can’t go ignored.

3. Your boat’s going to kick your ass.

Your beloved boat will generate a to-do list for you each and every day. You’ll grow tremendously tired of having to fix another broken part, mend a ripped sail, unclog the head, and investigate another strange sound. You may have to blow hundreds, even thousands, of dollars on a suddenly flooded engine. You’ll have no choice; every task will be central to your existence. It’s the price you pay — the colossal ingredient — for living the dream.

4. You’re going to receive a lot of unsolicited advice.

Whether it’s the jaded sailor, overly cautious friend, or eavesdropping neighbor — everyone will have a tale to tell about someone falling overboard, mooring lines breaking loose in the middle of the night, masts snapping halfway to destinations, horrendous medical emergencies, and even whales vaulting right onto boats. “Don’t forget to put down that swim ladder before taking a dip. Plenty of folk drown out there forgetting just that,” every single person you talk to ever will warn. They’ll be right though. Things do happen. But just like anything worth doing, there are risks involved. You can be as prepared and informed as the next sailor, but obstacles are going to find you.

Talk to the wrong people, and you may be talked out of the sailor’s life before you even begin it. Talk to the right people, and they’ll tell you about risks and how to best prepare for them but also miracles and unimaginable joys awaiting you in a life not often experienced. So find some sailors worth their salt. You can rely on what they have to say.

5. A lot of things are actually going to go wrong.

Sure, chances are you’ll safely complete that ocean crossing, and your keel won’t strain and split. You probably won’t be left stranded or capsized in deep waters. A whale probably won’t launch itself onto your deck — though I do know someone who had that happen during a trans-Atlantic voyage. Every sailor knows somebody who knows somebody who’s had something horrid happen on the water. Anything can happen while at the mercy of nature. People will suddenly fall ill. Storms will roll in. Masts will snap. Tanks will leak. Engines will die. Lightning will strike. And fires, of all things, will start. Risks are going to be everywhere, so choose wisely and prepare for the consequences. Bill Bryson nailed it when he said: “That doesn’t happen often, but — and here is the absolutely salient point — once would be enough.”

6. You’re going to regret your decision to live on a boat.

One flawless sun-drenched moment your mind might be consumed with thoughts of your life, effortlessly drifting away with a tropical breeze. But then you’ll find yourself infuriated with every decision you ever made that led you to this boat, where you have to row a quarter of a mile to shore to get another can of beans, or a single abnormally shaped bolt, exclusively designed for your boat and your boat only. You’ll regret your life. But then a pod of dolphins might rise from your infinite front yard, close enough to splash you. On a boat, your mood swoops between surrender, determination, caution, and recklessness at alarming rates. There will be difficult and trying days, but in between them you’ll sweep up moments that enrich your life in immeasurable ways. These moments will teach you about the world, about people, and about yourself. You’ll be humbled, surprised, reassured, and scared stiff beyond words. But not a moment will pass when you don’t feel tremendously alive.

7. Life after boat life is going to be weird.

Sometimes you’ll forget that, eventually, you’re probably going to leave your boat. Maybe you’ll still be living on it tomorrow, next week, or even next year, but perhaps somewhere down the line you’ll live on terra firma again. It’ll be hard to jump back into civilization and not feel cooped up or even trapped, and not become hopelessly irritable each time you step indoors. It’ll be hard to adjust your habits — especially your hygienic ones — to societal standards. Taking a shower won’t mean jumping off the boat into cool, translucent waters anymore. Nor will it include vibrantly colored fish, sea turtles, dolphins, or dodging dinghies. Water faucets and shower heads are going to leave you baffled and amazed for months. There isn’t going to be an infinite amount of stars glowing above your head at night. You’re not going to feel as terrified or astonished when thunderstorms and windstorms pass through. You’re going to miss seeing, smelling, and hearing the change in the weather and in the seasons.

You risk so much by diving into the unknown. You risk giving up everything that gives you joy in the hope you can find something greater, and you risk finding nothing at all. But that’s the beauty of it. No matter how long you decide to stay salty, you’ll always carry the inspiration, wonder, and desire boat life will instill in you.

The above article was published in Boats US Magazine.

This month was a working month once again and the entire steering had to be dismantled so we could repair the transmission shifting cable, and the throttle cable. While everything is all apart some improvements to the under deck and cockpit lazarettes do not only increase the storage but to organize the necessary equipment for cruising. Some modifications to the engine was also performed so that the temperature gauge gives a more accurate reading. A lot of work has been done to the cooling system and we have yet to try it out. The relocation of the temperature sending unit will help to diagnose any problems that remain. So far after running for 30 minutes at the dock it never got over 162 degrees, but it needs to be under load to see if everything is fixed. I trip up the river should tell us if it will be ready for a longer trip. Yes I know we have sails but when we came here being stuck in the ICW and no room to maneuver the engine is necessary.

We got a surprise vacation of 3 days when Ilie provided 2 nights in an Englewood Motel. We met for 2 days to discuss the trawler project now that the cosmetic repairs are nearly completed and a day on the beach. The photos this month are mostly of the improvements to Dawn Treader and the trip back to Englewood which included breakfast with sailing club members. Next month’s project will be systems on Ilie’s trawler and the structural repair of Dawn Treader’s cockpit. After that is finished we hope to take her to the boatyard to pull her out and refresh bottom paint and do some final checks on ball valves and plumbing as well as get a final out of water survey before making some trial runs and short trips. Watch this spot for progress as it is getting near time for some coastal exploring. So far no hurricanes!

Once again special thanks to Ilie and Susan for a Marvelous 3 day Mini-Vacation and great time at the beach. Also the sharing of Slivovitz!

Hope their trip to Maine is without incident and pleasant.
This month's recipe and Photos.


April 2015

This month Dawn Treader continues to get some wanted upgrades as well as needed repairs. The 65 foot Troller that I am working on is now close to being finished. This allows me to spend some time on my own boat.
We had to dismantle the steering in order to get to the control cables and while working on the throttle cable I decided it was time to relocate the temperature sending unit. New hoses and some other upgrades to the cooling system will hopefully cure our overheating. Working in the tight spaces is always fun and removing old rubber hoses helps keep the band aide box in use.
The photos this month reflect the work that has been on both Ilie’s Trawler and Dawn Treader. The engine room is a very tight space and one of the control cables that was repaired is right under that big box that has Perkins printed on it and about a foot back. The photos show the cramped space both under the rear cockpit and the back and side of the engine.
One of the new items is the Magma Grill. It is one of the most versatile units on the market and grills to perfection once one learns the proper methods. It has a center radiant plate with a removable center that allows regular cooking in pots and pans. So far I’ve done steaks, chops, fish, burgers and corn, as well as a pork tenderloin roast! The other addition is a portable air conditioner. Our down the hatch unit is getting old and sometimes the heat and humidity is just a bit much for it so we turn on the portable. All in all things are starting to move faster and soon we will be pulling Dawn Treader out to dry dock for some final surveys and refreshing bottom paint.

The following is why living on a boat is a unique experience.

15 differences between a normal friend and a boat friend

1. A normal friend will respect your privacy and personal space. A boat friend grows accustomed to being in such close proximity to you, they never stray more than a few inches from you at all times, even on land.

2. A normal friend carpools with you to school or work. A boat friend rows, dinghies, SUPs, or just swims over to pick you up.

3. A normal friend will watch a movie with you on a bad weather day. A boat friend will come over and help you strip off outriggers, antennas, running rigging, and seal around hatches, ports, and lockers. They’ll make sure cockpit drains are free-running, the bilge pump and switch work, and that the battery is topped up.

4. A normal friend considers talk about the weather to be small talk. A boat friend discusses weather intentionally, as you’re immersed in the elements at all times. Your next night’s sleep depends on it.

5. A normal friend prevents you from drinking and driving. A boat friend just
makes sure you stay on the goddamn boat.

6. A normal friend would question bruises covering every square inch of your body. A boat friend understands how brutal maneuvering around a boat can be.

7. A normal friend will wait until after 5pm to offer you a drink. A boat friend will wait until you wake up.

8. A normal friend will help you in any way necessary after disaster strikes. A boat friend will prevent it altogether, keeping watch over the bay while you sleep, giving you a lift to shore when you run out of gas, regularly diving down to check your mooring line, or simply rowing over a fresh pot of coffee in the morning.

9. A normal friend thinks you’re crazy when they find out you don’t have
electricity, refrigerator, running water, or a bathroom. A boat friend lives the dirty life too.

10. A normal friend will ask if you want to check out that new restaurant in town. A boat friend will catch a fish and serve it up with a side of pineapple they foraged earlier that morning and homemade grilled garlic bread. And, of course, wine.

11. A normal friend might mention your hair looks like it could use some brushing. A boat friend will find your new dreads fitting for life at sea, if they notice the change at all.

12. A normal friend asks if everything is okay. A boat friend believes your mood is their mood. They know something is wrong and demand you talk about it, as
they’re close enough to practically hear your thoughts. They can feel your moods and read your thoughts by looks alone.

13. A normal friend slams the door and takes a few days to cool off after a
disagreement. A boat friend storms a few feet away to the opposite side of the boat and avoids eye contact.

14. A normal friend might be uncomfortable seeing their friends naked.
A boat friend is the farthest thing from modest and completely unfazed by nudity in all forms, be it friends, neighbors, beachgoers, or old salts.

15. A normal friend considers themselves rich when they have loads of zeros in their bank account. A boat friend considers themselves rich when they have enough money to buy food, beer, gas for the tanks, and most importantly, when they witness the sunrise and set each day.

Enjoy this month’s recipe.

March 2015

Hello everybody match is almost over and I have not started the newsletter so it is going to be a last minute effort.

March has been uneventful with most of our efforts going to finishing Ilie’s boat, and working on Dawn Treader. Other than meeting with neighbors on Fridays and a live performance at our local theater we have not participated in much.

We made a few trips in our dingy and worked. Not at all exciting but the weather has been too favorable to pass the chances to get a lot of work done . The other day our pet alligator swam buy and a week ago we had
 4 Manatees cavorting about.

We had a visit from a friend from Canada. Val spent the day with us. Back when I had my 32 foot Ericson in California Val sailed with me to Catalina Island. I was just starting my sailing and on the way back we encountered Santa Anna winds and to put it mildly I was a little worried.
Val who had racing experience on Lake Ontario found it humorous. Since then during a delivery to Washington we encountered one of the worse storms in the history of the Oregon coast. During the visit Val Dawn and I shared a great time and stories of our past sailing adventures capped off by dinner at The Log Cabin. One of Labell’s finest restaurants.

Sorry to say we have no recipe for this month as we have not done any unusual foods this month either.

The Dawn Treader got a new Magma Grill, and the port side of Ilies”s boat got all the rails and decks finished and painted.

See Photos So there you have it; life on the boat just like home plenty of onshore chores like new shelves in the storage shed and fixing the toilet leak. Sometimes adventure is just a boring.

Until Next month

Charlie and Dawn aboard the Dawn Treader somewhere in Florida

February 2015

It’s February and time again for the monthly post.

Dawn Treader got a new service dingy. It is a Walker Bay 10 foot and we have complete sail rig, a 2.5 HP outboard and oars to propel it along. So far we have taken it around our channels and over to the lake they call Lollypop because it is round with a channel leading into it and from the air it looks like one. We also added a Convection Oven and Dawn baked hamburger buns. I'm still working on the outside grill but it works just not that great!

This month we have three recipes. Where we have our boat many of the people here gather for what they call Friday at 5. Everyone brings a beverage and an appetizer and we talk BOATS! Last Friday was our first visit. We discovered a great party wine. Not too sweet not too dry and not too expensive! I have had others but since it was on sale at Win-Dixie with I might add gas perks of 10 cents a bottle we bought 2. It is Menage a Trois and this one is the Rose’. They make 2 other red, and one white. They are all blends of three grapes so they mellow each other out. I find it rather pleasant.

Highlight for this month is the Swamp Cabbage Festival. It features some fun local talent a parade and lots of local food. What they call Swamp Cabbage is actually Hearts of Palm and it is made in a Gumbo or Fritters. They also had alligator on a stick. Interesting, but we had a hot dog! Yes I’ve had alligator before and it doesn’t taste “just like chicken”

The area we are in currently has a history of sugar production. Around Turkey Creek two crops are readily apparent. Orange Groves and Sugar Cane. Lots of both. Close by the famous race tracks in Sebring and Daytona. The big NASCAR race has just passed. Soon the endurance races will be upon us. When I was much younger and frequently drove in excess of 150 MPH in various Jags Porsches and Ferraris These two races was the highlight of my life. Now I get excited when Dawn Treader hits over 8 knots! That is about 10 MPH


January 2015

Welcome to the new year. We spent the New Year on the road in Texas courtesy of Ron a High school friend in Jasper. One of our stops was in San Antonio and we stayed at the Historic O’Brien Hotel only 4 blocks from the River Walk and a short walk to the Alamo. The day we arrived it was fair weather however a cold snap hit the next day. Still we did the River Tour and spent part of the day exploring the Historic section and the Alamo. Then on to Jasper Texas and the New Year Celebration before leaving to explore Port Arthur. We checked out local marinas looking forward to travel by Dawn Treader some time later. From Port Arthur we headed to the greatest Cajun Restaurant called Cajun Tales near Lake Charles LA. They have a web site if you’re in the neighborhood. Sadly we passed through New Orleans with only a quick trip to COSTCO as we had to move on to Mobile Alabama to visit the USS Alabama and supposedly the Maritime Museum. After searching for the museum for about an hour we finally called only to learn they had not opened the new building yet. We spent the night in the same motel that we stayed in a little over 2 years ago when we first came to Florida! The USS Alabama was just totally awesome. Included is a hanger full of historical aircraft and a WW 2 submarine. They also have a replica of a submarine that was built by the Confederates and actually sank Union ships during the blockade.

Right down the street was another great restaurant, Felix’s. They specialize in great seafood.

One interesting note: gas was under $2 a gallon for almost the entire trip until we got back in Florida. It is a mystery why it was almost 30 to 40 cents a gallon more. Our last stop was at Green Cove Springs to pick up our mail and headed home. The Volkswagen held up great considering it is an 86.

However after seeing what these things are selling for, we are considering putting it up for sale. Just about every place we stopped someone asked if I’d like to sell it!

Things have settled down now and it is back to work on the boats. Dawn Treader would be far more comfortable to travel in.

Side Note

I have kept this politically neutral as it was not the intent of our sailing newsletter. However: there are some rather serious issues around the globe.

To attempt to stay on the sidelines is not prudent. We have a boat that can take us many places. Just before I re-retired and made my way to Florida I had a conversation with my employer and friend about where we could go that would be any safer than where we are now. Many places have become dangerous and if we are not vigilant it could happen right here! It is not important what political party a person has allegiance too but whether or not a person values not only the freedom but the opportunity that our country and Constitution provides. Now a group in the Middle East has not only aggressively oppressed a large portion of Iraq and parts of Syria but have vowed to destroy our way of life. We need to support and encourage ALL of our representatives and if it comes to military action be thankful that it has not spread to our shores. YET!


December 2014

We hope everyone has a great Christmas and a wonderful New Year!

December is upon us and the crew of the Dawn Treader turned inland for visits to friends and relatives. Because we are approaching a new year I would like to encourage any of our readers that no longer wish to be on our mailing list to please let us know by responding with Unsubscribe in the subject line.

Dawn has been working on the web site so also we would appreciate feedback.

Last month pretty much ended the discussion of living aboard a boat. However if any of our readers have any specific questions they can be directed either through the website or in an E-Mail directly.

This month after some repair and battery replacement on the trusty Volkswagen Camper we headed to Texas to spend Thanksgiving with John and Linda who are longtime friends.

The other guests were Peter and Becky, Ken and Joanne. Many years ago when I taught 6th grade in Gravette, Arkansas, Peter was working there as well. He now teaches Art at John Brown University in Siloam Springs. http://www.peterpohle.com It was a great reunion as well.

For some reason every place we stopped someone offered to buy our Volkswagen. Perhaps if we get the “right price” we may!

We headed towards California next and will stop in Silver City, New Mexico, Green Valley and Marana Arizona, to visit with Dawn’s family and our friends.

We visited interesting museums in both Silver City and Tucson. Photos from Silver City include the Cliff Dwellings as well as Billy the Kids homesite. In Tucson the photos include the Mission, Titan Missile Museum, and Pima Air Museum. The Titan Missile was known as the Peace Keeper and all the years they were active we never had to launch. The Titan was also known as a second strike defensive weapon.

The Pima Air Museum in Tucson has really grown since I first went there in 2003. It is a must see for many reasons. There is a B-17 display that takes up 2 stories and includes video interviews with former prisoner of way pilots. And the men involved with the massive food drops to Holland. The B-17 on display is pristine and there is equipment displayed from the crews as well as the armament. Both the Titan Museum and the Pima Air Museum are great reminders of what it cost to keep the world free. In our 200 year history the United States has always left the liberated countries free to rule themselves.

On the way to California the pin on the shifter decided to take a vacation and it was lucky for us that we were almost in San Bernardino. Shifting was ----- well nonexistent but managed to find 4th gear to get back on the Freeway. At the exit it managed to get into 2nd so we could drive the 5 blocks to Import Auto in San Bernardino. However their mechanic called in sick that day so another 2 blocks to Blodgett’s Bug Barn who normally do not do service on Monday’s, however they took it in and by 3:30 it was fixed and shifts like a new car. Complete repair, oil change and service on the speedometer cable was $248! So if any of you out there have a Vintage Volkswagen or British Sports Car Import Auto, or Blodgett’s can probably get you any parts you may need. I will include the addresses and phone numbers at the end of this newsletter and we will put them on our web page as well.

While we were waiting we walked up to the Mc Donald’s Museum and checked out the San Bernardino Route 66 Displays as well before heading to my brother’s house in Alta Loma.

While in California we made a visit to Minneys and received a surprise gift for our boat. A nice new shinny bell. The next day headed back to San Bernardino for lunch with my Daughter. James, Linda, Dawn and I had lunch at Paco’s Tacos and it was all around great then one last day with my brother and off to Arizona. We will be spending Christmas with our friend Joanne in Green Valley and head back to Florida stopping in Texas to visit Ron and on to Alabama to see the USS Alabama monument and finally home to Dawn Treader to finish up the work on the boats.
This month's recipe courtesy of our friend Joanne in Green Valley, AZ
This month's photos.

News from the Dawn Treader

November 2014

Wow! November already. Hard to believe the year is almost over.

This month’s discussion is on how much space do you need?

New addition to Dawn Treader is a 10 foot sailing dingy. It is much better for us than the 8 foot one. It will take sails, ores, or use our 3.5 HP outboard. It is also much stiffer and will carry more groceries.

In this month’s discussion about space starts with what size boat is necessary. Just like motorhomes size is important. It is easy to succumb to the 2 foot-ites however with added size also comes added expense. The message is that bigger is not always better.

Americans have traditionally built bigger better Dixie Cups and threw them away. One of the reason we started living aboard our boat was to step out of this system and become more independent. There is however a size that I would consider a minimum. Smaller and it is more like camping than living! Our Volkswagen Vanagon pop up camper is a perfect example. We have spent weeks at a time however during our travel from Arizona to Florida we opted to stay in a Motel after 3 or4 days on the road. MY first boat was a 24 foot American Mariner and I lived on it for about a year before moving up to a 32 foot Ericson. WE now have a 37 foot Endeavour. Is that part of the 2 foot-ites disease? Perhaps! At one time between the Ericson and the Endeavour I lived and sailed on a 43 foot Catch. So why did I downsize back to a 37 foot boat? Simple; cost and ease of handling. Sometimes I do miss some of the added amenities however I do not miss the increased cost of dockage, bottom paint, and handling larger and heavier sails. Cost aside, some people believe a larger boat is safer out on the ocean. The number of people that have crossed oceans on boats less than 40 feet proves that safe is seamanship not size. Now for actual experience starting with the 24 foot boat.

I bought the 24 footer for $1400 originally and started spending long weekends and basically learning to sail in blue water in this boat. That was in Ventura California. The first trip to Catalina Island was a real adventure for me, however the previous owner made the trip several times. I stored it in Arizona during my kayak trip then took it to Texas where I lived aboard it for almost a year. It was adequate for one and even provided shelter for occasional guest. The basic essentials were there but smaller. It had a 2 burner propane stove but was not gimbaled a small Ice Box (not refrigerator) small sink and about 25 gallons water storage. The previous owner replaced the marine toilet with a porta pottie.

The up side was the boat could easily be transported by trailer. The down side was simply the size and storage did not allow for much in the way of amenities and was really more like extended camping rather than living. However, from this boat I learned that it was actually enjoyable to live on a boat. It also provided the experience without draining the bank account. What are the possibilities on a boat this size? Lin and Larry Pardee sailed their home built 24 foot Channel Cutter to Japan and beyond. Their books are worth reading! http://www.paracay.com

Moving on thethe32 foot Ericson was like living in the penthouse after the 24! It had a real table that would also convert to a bed a toilet with a holding tank, and most important a Galley! The vertical cold box had a refrigeration unit that worked with the 12 volt system and in short pretty much had all the basics. Life was so much more comfortable it even had Doors for privacy and seemed more like a very small apartment. However even though it had a head and vanity sink there was no onboard shower. My own opinion is that this is pretty much the minimum size for full time living and travel.
Several trips to Catalina Island with guest were fun and not cramped. It had room to accommodate 6 people as long as 2 pairs really liked each other! It is also noteworthy that around this time Lin and Larry also upgraded to a 30 foot boat. They also made the trip East to West around Cape Horn in that boat.

The 43 foot Catch was bought in partnership and even though I did sail it single handed it took 2 people to dock it in all but calm weather. It had ROOM! But with it came the added expense. There were 2 complete berths with square beds in each. 2 heads with showers, Hot Water Heater, and a rather nice salon that was roomy and even a convertible setee that became a full sized bed. The galley had both a vertical and horizontal refrigerator large twin sink 3 burner gimbaled stove with oven, microwave, and even a coffee maker!

Large center cockpit had room as well and the deck with the mizzen could double as a small patio. It was like having a 2 bedroom 2 story floating apartment. However as stated the cost went up accordingly for example:

Three sails to replace instead of 2

Bottom paint $3200 compared to $1300 on the 32

Dockage fees 43 @ $12.50 per foot $537.50, 32@$10 per foot $320 (All prices are Southern California and commercial boatyard) Most marinas have higher fees for larger slips and some charge for total length which in the 43’s case would measure almost 50 feet with the davits and dingy.

Our current boat the 37 foot Endeavour is a good compromise.

The number of cruising boats in this size illustrates this fact.

Everything necessary to and extended stay is on board. Head with shower, galley with vertical and horizontal refrigeration, 3 burner, gimbaled stove with oven and broiler, twin sink and Hot water. There is a V-Berth forward and a Quarter Berth aft with a vanity sink and running water, the salon has a convertible bed and the table folds up to provide space.

Because it is under 40 feet over all it will fit in the most abundant size slips and usually is the lowest rate in most marinas.

Also since there are a large number of boats in the range from 30 to 40 feet usually the purchase price is quite reasonable and competitive, depending on the condition and the amount of work one is willing to do!

The final question is to go with Power or Sail. Power boats usually have a bit more room for the length than sailboats however, the added cost of fuel must be considered. Dawn Treader carries 60 gallons of diesel for its 50 HP auxiliary diesel which burns a little less than a gallon per hour. So without wind that gives us a range of 240 miles. However, my Ericson had a 25 gallon tank that I filled when I bought it and when I sold it a year and a half later it still had 14 gallons in it.

The photos this month are the boats in the newsletter for comparison and reasons for living and traveling on a boat. Dawn’s Wind chimes, Trip to Moore Haven, and Fort Myers.

This month’s recipe is curtesy of my daughter Linda Smith

The photos this month are the boats in the newsletter for comparison and reasons for living and traveling on a boat. Dawn’s Wind chimes, Trip to Moore Haven, and Fort Myers.


News from the Dawn Treader

October 2014

October is the start of our cool weather and the sailing season.

We have seen other boats passing and people are starting to come for the winter.

We had a particularly rain filled summer. It kept things cooler than normal however, it kept us from making progress on the repairs of our boat and the one I am working on, so the plan to have all finished by September have fallen through. It has been raining all day so taking advantage of the time to get the newsletter out was the project of the day.

I want to clear up a possible misunderstanding from last month’s newsletter. Travel Smith is a company that sells great travel clothing and because my last name is Smith some of our friends thought it was a pun!

This month’s addition to our boat was a Convection Oven. It will work with our electrical system and not only shortens cooking times but allows new baking opportunities.

Continuing our discussion about living aboard a boat, the discussion of what to keep will become important.

We have about the same storage capacity of perhaps a standard closet, and that is for 2 people! Last month clothing was the subject, and it must be stored someplace on the boat. The other essentials are food, water, fuel, and necessary sailing equipment.

After a few trips it becomes rather obvious what is necessary for survival on the sea. My first boat was a 24 foot boat and had just nearly enough to accommodate a single person. I had quite a bit of stuff stored with a friend as well. The next boat was 32 feet and it was like moving into the penthouse however there was still a lot of my stuff in someone else’s house. However each move found me with less non-essential stuff! Dawn and I are now down to almost only what will fit in Dawn Treader. We also have a Volkswagen pop up camper for land travel and it has some limited storage for trips.

Basically there are two approaches to having a mobile lifestyle.

Keep a home base, weather that is a house or simply getting a storage rental large enough to store all the belongings that will not fit in the boat, motorhome, or 5th wheel travel trailer.

The other is to make your home base whatever you choose to travel in. For us it is Dawn Treader, a 37 foot sailboat. Even aboard our boat we have accumulated things that are not totally necessary. If you have chosen a boat like we did there are some important things to consider. Never set sail with loose items anywhere! They can land on the floor and get tossed around causing damage in even calm seas. On our way to our current dockage we had almost all our galley equipment thrown all over due to a passing boat’s wake! We probably rocked for about 40 seconds or so! The best advice I can think of is if you can’t stow it securely leave it behind. I remember reading a book just before I retired titled “Packing your bags for the rest of your life.” That book started me thinking about what I really needed to have a fulfilled life. Another experience really brought the point home. While sorting through things for the giant yard sale I came across about 4 boxes that I had packed when I moved to California. They were full of “essential teaching materials” that were packed about 20 years earlier and had Never Been Opened!

There will always be things that will be missed. However, there will also be new things to take their place. One must weigh the different opportunities to make the decision.

It may seem truly amazing to some that on our 37 foot sailboat we currently carry about 90 days food supply 100 gallons of water and enough clothes for several wardrobe changes. That equates to 3 weeks before the trip to the Laundromat.

Photos for this month include our friend Joanne’s trip to Maine and New Hampshire the repair progress on Ilie’s Troller, an interesting bike, and sunset on the river. However, it is the only one we've seen in all the time we have been here.

This Month’s Recipe and Photos

News From the Dawn Treader

September 2014

September has arrived and so far there have been no hurricanes reach landfall in Florida.

Work is progressing nicely on the 65 foot troller which is the reason we are in Turkey Creek. Dawn Treader has a new interior, and the Highlander that I had to leave in Arizona has been sold, so things are generally going well.

Continuing with living aboard a boat this month will be some of the nitti gritti facts.

Weather it is a motorhome, trailer, 5th Wheel or sailboat one very important reality is space. Americans in general tend to accumulate a lot of STUFF! Simple fact of living aboard life is there is not enough space to store it. Also there are things necessary to being self-contained that is dependent on choice of mode. Land based modes will need supplies for sanitary disposal power and of course food storage. Boats are similar, for example motorhomes tow a car we carry a dingy for transport when camped or anchored, after reaching shore however we are dependent on public transportation. Neither of these take up internal storage so let’s shift focus to what many people find difficult. Downsizing possessions!

I started about a year before retiring, with what I thought would work, not having any guide many mistakes were made however facing the reality that many things were going to be sold in order to have a mobile lifestyle! The first sailboat was only 24 feet and before that I made a kayak trip down the Missouri River so the decision to have a huge yard sale and to store only tools needed to work on boats was relatively easy for me. Since then we moved up in size to 32 and then 37 foot boats. However, when starting one suggestion is keep at 40 feet or under and make the hard decisions of what is really necessary for living. Wardrobe is usually the most difficult. A good pair of deck shoes, Tevas, and sneakers, foul weather gear, and a few things for any climate will do. Travel Smith has good stuff. I have pants that convert to shorts and some mesh lined ones for snowboarding that are warm and water proof, one pair of Polortech lined jeans. Dawn is still accumulating “boating” clothes but has a versatile wardrobe with far less than most women. One tip is to think like a backpacker. I still have one suit and one sport coat in case I get invited to something formal but they are stored off the boat with a friend, however doubtful that it will happen. One advantage to sailing is that things do not happen quickly. 100 miles per day is good time. There is plenty of time to prepare on the way. Currently we are in a tropical climate so daily wardrobe choice is simple: light short sleeve or “T” shirt, shorts and my Tevas are just fine. I have one pair of formal leather shoes that have taken up space for 2 years and I’ve worn them twice!

So far there are no travel plans for this month other than test trips and boat maintenance to get ready for more travel friendly weather. Even though the hurricanes have been well off shore the weather has been quite boisterous.

There have been afternoon thunderstorms almost daily and it has put a crimp in getting work on the troller and Dawn Treader. Dawn did a great job of reupholstering our worn interior and the boat looks factory fresh now. The material really sets off the lovely teak interior. Our next project will be a Bimini and davits to get the dingy off the front deck and facilitate launching. Hopefully mounting solar panels as well. In the meantime Dawn Treader will get a trip up river as soon as the transmission cable is replaced, to be pulled out mostly to refresh bottom paint and go through all through hulls and rethink the plumbing system to the head!

We did add a tarp so that both the salon and V-Berth is now shaded. We both got new Tevas and my old ones are used for working. I have had them for over 6 years now.

Visitors to our docks

Besides a pair of Limpkins we had an alligator sunning itself on the other bank. However, it is the only one we’ve seen in all the time we have been here..

News From the Dawn Treader

August 2014

July has passed and August is here already and as the frog says “Time sure is fun when you’re having flies!”

This month Dawn Treader is getting a new interior. We are starting in the main salon with the settees which are the equivalent to a sofa in a house. Selecting the fabric took a lot of time as the interior of a boat is different than a house. It must resist mildew and stand up to moisture and the humidity. With the right material it will last for a long time. Ours has held up for over 20 years!

When out and about many people are curious about what it is like to live aboard a sailboat.

I have lived on a boat on and off since 2003 and Dawn for 3 years in Mexico. Neither of us wish to live on land at present. In our travels and when I was teaching and doing photography I’ve met many people who live full time in Motorhomes or RV’s and travel around the countryside.

A boat is similar except the ability to travel in oceans extends the range. Dawn Treader is 37 feet on deck and 41 over all however the space below deck is the living space. It is roughly equivalent to a 35 foot motorhome or a 30 foot Fifth Wheel except it uses a lot less fuel but is a lot slower. Therefore, the first thing is developing the patience as 100 miles in a day is considered good time. One other suggestion we make to others is that rather than selling everything and taking off as we did it may be a good idea to put things in storage and try out the life style for a year or so whether in an RV or boat. There are many things that must be downsized as there is not much room compared to a house with many rooms and closets! Once that is out of the way the things you receive for the things left behind well outweigh any sacrifices. Personally we can attest that after a short time many of those things are no longer missed. Things like mowing lawns, cleaning rain gutters, noisy neighbors, and property taxes!

Once mastered the art of sailing can take a couple (or a person) too many interesting places quite comfortable and reasonable. For example a simple trip to Bermuda would cost about $1200 (from Or1lando Florida) for 2 people and a combo flight and accommodations for 7 days is $5,265 on Expedia! Sailing over would take an nice relaxing week and the boat would be accommodations for as long as desired. That is not even including the ability to save much on preparing meals and other travel expenses. This seemed the perfect solution to a retiring teacher with wanderlust! Power boats are faster but then it is the fuel problem again.

This month’s trip to Kissimmee which is next to Orlando Florida home to Disney World. Our good friend Joanne loaned us 5 days in her Time Share so we had time to explore things.

The Villa was just gorgeous and we had invited a friend but he could not get away. It was as big as my old house with 2 bedrooms and baths and all the amenities that go with a time share.

The first night we discovered The Boston Lobster Feast! It is an all you can eat featuring whole lobster, crab, mussels, clams, oysters, and all manner of sea food as well as prime rib, London broil and chicken teriyaki. There were all the side dishes as well. It was great and we skipped lunch the next day.

Celebration is a community that was conceived by the people at Disney. The business block is reminiscent of Main Street USA at the California Disneyland, complete with a real soda fountain.

The water fountain is designed with kids in mind, and there are usually a few enjoying the cooling waters during the hot summer. It is a fun place to visit.

Old Town is a collection of interesting shops and an amusement park that includes a super sling shot (bungee), giant swing that starts about 150 feet as well as milder rides. One of the most interesting shops there was one called “As Seen on TV” where one could find all that stuff that has been advertised over the years. Who knows some could even be useful. Four of the Mc Donald’s here has a “Gourmet Sandwich Menu” of which exist only in Orlando that I know of.

Downtown Disney is a fun place to visit for Disney Souvenirs, interesting restaurants, and things to look at. It rained on and off but we managed to stay dry. Dinner that night was Pirate Adventure Dinner where the food was hardy the action was loud and the performers we interesting. Dawn was picked for our team leader and all had to take the Pirate Pledge before dinner. There were 2 choices. There were acrobatics and naturally plenty of swash buckle.

The sword play was quite genuine and I learned later that the participants were actually fencers.

I recognized it from my fencing days in college but didn’t feel up to a challenge. It was a fun evening and there is also 3 other dinner shows. Medieval Times, a 20’s theme featuring All Capone and a Burlesque Themed with old time Broadway comic shows.

Tomorrow we leave for our boat and home. It will be good to get back.

News From the Dawn Treader

July 2014

It has been raining for the whole day so it is a good time to take advantage and start the July newsletter.

The highlights for this month include a trip to Savannah, Georgia, a handy waterproof camera case for my kayaking friends, and visitors to our dock. We are also including a link to our newly created web page please take time to visit and comment.

Some friends once said that cruising is repairing your boat in beautiful places. Turkey Creek is indeed a beautiful place and it is not one but two boats being repaired. Most of our time is taken with working on the 60 foot trawler that belongs to the couple that is providing our dock. Work must be done early as we are in that period of tropical rains in the afternoon. If it does not rain it gets too hat by noon.

Dawn Treader still needs a few touches as well. This month she is getting new interior covers for the settees and some adjustments to the transmission linkage as well as relocating the temperature sending unit for more accurate readings.

Trip to Savannah: We met our friends John and Linda Crone in Savannah when they came down from Atlanta for the book fair.

Linda grew up on Tybee Island so we had a great tour and a lot of interesting things to see so we extended our stay another day.

Starting with dinner at Bore's Head on the Savannah River Walk and then to the Savannah and Atlanta Railroad Museum the next morning. Our admission included a ride behind a steam locomotive. For the railroad buffs out there it was a 0-6-0 tank type!

Lunch on the way to Tybee Island with great seafood and cheesy grits! Dawn had Mahi-Mahi tacos (with extra jalapenos!) Linda and I had Mahi-Mahi fingers, John had shrimp and hush puppies.

On the way back we toured Fort Pulaski. Fort Pulaski was the first causality of Northern Technology. The use of Rifled Artillery from Tybee Island over a mile away brought the fort down.

That evening dinner at the Six Pence Pub in downtown gave us a mix of cuisine part Southern and part Traditional Pub Fare.

Waterproof Camera Case for Kayaking

A simple waterproof camera case that not only will protect it from wet but shock as well. Start with a Pelican Case of your choice, mine is a pelican 1300 which is about 11 by 9 by 7. Which held a Nikon FE-2, 50mm F1.2, 70-210 zoom filters and a couple extra rolls of film during my kayak trip from Fort Benton Montana to Saint Louis Missouri. Today it holds a Nikon D-80, 28-80 zoom, 65-200 zoom, extra battery, USB cable, and battery charger.

You will need 4 C- clips and screws, a D-ring, about 4 feet of nylon strap, two adjustable clips with clips (see Photos) some DuPont 5200. My kayak has lines around the perimeter which allows the case to hook securely. Inside Pelican provides very handy foam inserts that are precut in squares to allow you to custom fit your equipment. Most importantly it is absolutely bullet proof water tight. I have rolled with the case intact with no damage and the handy lanyard keeps it attached to the kayak in case of mishaps.

The bird that hangs around our docks is a Limpkin and it fishes for the large snails and fresh water clams. Dawn is going to make wind chimes from the empty snail shells as they are quite sturdy and have an interesting ring to them, each one seems to be different.

In general we are having a great time and we continue to explore the surrounding area with access to both the Gulf and the Atlantic Coast. Next month it will be Kissimmee River close to Orlando for 5 days courtesy of our friend Joanne in Arizona.

This month’s recipe


News From the Dawn Treader

June 2014

It is June already, however things are calm and we are getting things organized. The hand is almost completely healed and we are mostly over the virus so we are looking forward to new projects and exploring the area.

On that note we want to give special thanks to Ilie and Susan for bringing us to Turkey Creek as it is probably the best gift we’ve received in a long time. It is certainly the best thing that has happened since we moved to Florida! Working on his boat is also a fun project and gives me a chance to use all that I’ve learned about boat construction and repair.

We also have about the nicest host for landlords that we have ever had in all our boating experience.

Butch and Chris. Have not only provided us with a storage so we can get everything organized and sorted but the view from our slip and the scenery we have as well as the great facilities just makes us feel like we have come to paradise.

Our explorations so far have included a trip through Moor Haven up to Lake Okeechobee and to the do it yourself boatyard and storage that is a first in boatdom. It is actually closer by water than over land!

While we have work to do on the other boat we also have time to fine tune the systems on Dawn Treader. The first of which was to totally empty both the boat and the Volkswagen Cer Van. Leaving only the living essentials on both. This is the first time in 2 years that not only the floor but the seats in the V W could be seen. The Volkswagen has served as our garage now for a little over 2 years and was pretty much packed from floor to ceiling with STUFF! It is a testimony to German engineering that as overloaded as it was it just kept running and the only 2 problems we had during that time was a fuel line developed a leak and the fan belt shredded and was replaced. With a fresh oil change, new wiper blades and a new 1500 watt inverter it is now ready for overland travel again.

So far the engine overheating problem that caused the problems in the first place have still not been resolved however a solution is at hand. The entire cooling system has been dismantled cleaned and a website for intercoolers has been found. Soon we should be able to move the boat more than a few miles. The first trip will be up to have it hauled out to check all through hulls, rev the plumbing system and refresh the bottom paint. This will give up an opportunity to completely safety check the boat, especially after having spent 2 years getting to know where every things is and how it operates as each boat is different.

We made our first trip in the Volkswagen since arriving in Florida. However the night before we left to go visit Dave and Britta for the last time before they left the U. S. the headlights decided to quit working.

So after a day checking circuits with my multi-meter which also had to be replaced, the trouble was located. The V W had given us trouble with the headlights on and off the whole time we were traveling and it turned out to be a bad ground connection. So having spent a few hours wiring we decided to leave the next morning. Everything went more or less great!

Dave and Britta were in the process of storing the sails and other things to put the boat in storage. Having the now empty van was a big help to transfer things to their storage unit. After we went to lunch at a very nice bakery that also made sandwiches as well. Dawn and I shared a great Chocolate Mousse Cheesecake (well sometimes you just gotta!)

We ced overnight at Savannas Park and Cground in Fort Pierce and there we discovered that our 2 year old deep cycle battery also had problems however the refrigerator and all the other things still kept working not only through the night but the next day as well. We all went out to a place called Crawdaddy’s in Saint Lucie and was the greatest Mahi-Mahi we’ve had in a long time. Dave had the Crab Cakes. We ced back at the same place and left the next day to return to Turkey Creek.

Back at the boat the V W battery was tested and it will need replaced. However, for now it is back to work on Ilie’sj boat and also to figure out what to do about our overheating problem.

Dawn and I recently celebrated our 2 year anniversary and I would like to take some time to recap all the great things that happened because we met.

We met Steve and Sue who not only got us involved in the Englewood Sailing Association but was immeasurably helpful in getting Dawn Treader out of the storage yard and to our first marina.

Moving to Gasparilla Marina allowed us to meet Ilie and Susan who not only became friends but has allowed me to do what I like best, Work on a boat! Also they helped us relocate to our wonderful little paradise with access to some very interesting places. Meeting Dave and Britta who passed on loads of useful information. By now they are back in Europe and we will miss them.

Our new host Butch and Chris have provided us with great accommodations as well as the use of a storage shed which allows us to get needed space to work on both boats and still be able to drive the cer van. All in all it is a great place and being in a fresh water river give our bottom paint a rest and a good place to make needed repairs.

Photos for June 2014

News From the Dawn Treader

May 2014

It is still May so we’re not late yet.

A little over 2 weeks ago preparations were started for Dawn Treader’s longest voyage to date. Most of the efforts were concentrated on the over heating problem that still is plaguing our boat! To date the heat exchanger has been flushed, some hoses replaced, the engine itself flushed, and a new water pump. We still had a major problem on the trip.

Thanks to Illie’s generosity we were given a fantastic GPS program for my new laptop computer. So combined with the Garmin on the boat the hand held standby GPS and the paper charts of coarse there were no worries about finding our way to the new dock up the Okeechobee Water Way. We had also made a test run found what we thought was the final problem with the cooling system.

We left Tuesday May 6th and every thing seemed great for about 3 hours. Than the temperature started climbing suddenly. Shutting  down and hoisting sail we started making progress until the ICW changed direction leading us directly into the wind. In the past letting the engine cool and running at idle usually allowed forward progress and gradual cooling but this time it wasn’t working. I went down to check the coolant level and that is when the disaster struck.

The radiator cap blew past the safety catch and even though I had a mitt on it burned my hand badly. Grabbing a handful of ice, waiting for things to settle enough to add water we headed for the anchorage at Pelican Bay near Cabbage Key where Jimmy Buffet was supposed to have written “Cheeseburger in Paradise”. After briefly getting stuck on a sand bar, with the help of our anchor and two men in a dingy we dropped anchor to bandage my hand and evaluate our options. Our original plan to visit the famous restaurant was now out as lowering the dingy and sailing or rowing to the island was more than my hand could take. After a call to Boats US and being informed that our tow would be covered by the insurance we had to settle for tuna sandwiches.

The tow boat was scheduled to pick us up at 6:00 PM and it was only about 1:00 when we had lunch, I had wrapped my hand in some special burn gauze that was given to us a few weeks earlier by Dave and Britta from the Anam Cara so special thanks.

The Tow Boat crew was really first rate and was very helpful especially with my injury. The reason for the delay was because we were going to be towed a the way up the Okeechobee Water Way past the Ortona Lock to our new home and had to time the return as the locks shut down at 7:00 PM and they would be stuck so the tow started at 6:00PM and lasted all the way to 2:00AM the following morning at which time we again anchored at the first drawbridge. We got to sleep tell 5:30 AM however I slept very little as I hurt and also kept anchor watch so we would not drift. Before the tow boat came back Dawn wrapped some extra tape around my bandage which had been changed so I could help handle the lines as we went through the 2 locks on the way up river. The rest of the trip was totally without incident and except for being tired we were impressed with the beauty of the surroundings and actually somewhat enjoyed the trip. Last months news letter contained photos of the same trip that I made in Illlie’s Troller.

We arrived at Butch’s house about 11:00 Wednesday Morning and after tying off and signing the tow insurance papers we headed to the Urgent Care in Lehigh Regional Medical Center where they wrapped it and made an appointment for the next day at the Wound Care Center.

We went back and slept. The next day the Wound Care Center sent us to Ta Burn Center as they felt it was too bad to treat. After a hurried packing of some essentials we headed to Ta. However after arriving the burn specialist

was on call so we waited. When she arrived and examined my hand I was told it was not really that bad but what came next would hurt. IT Did!

Thanks to modern phones, tablets and Internet Dawn made motel reservations while I was treated and we arrived at 11:00PM called a food delivery and slept. The Comfort Inn Staff was very helpful and allowed us to sleep past the normal check out time. Still pretty tired we decided to stop at Sarasota for the night and decided to take in the famous Ringling Circus Museum and Mansion which was only a block from the motel. All this time Dawn has had the helm driven the car and in short performed heroically!

Needless to say we slept a lot when we arrived back at the boat. A week later with my hand quite better we moved the boat from behind Butch’s house to it’s permanent mooring around the corner and started to explore our new home.

In spite of the injury and trouble it is a garden spot and we love it here. Eventually the engine problem will be solved and from here we have easy access to either the Gulf or Atlantic. To date we have tried 5 Mexican, one Chinese, and a great Seafood/Bar Braque restaurant and only one of the Mexican restaurants was a dud. The next on our list is a Cuban and an exploratory trip to the Do It Yourself boatyard just 3 miles up river. Final note on my hand. It is healing just dandy and I will be starting back to work on my friends boat by time you read this.

Charlie and Dawn aboard the Dawn Treader somewhere in Florida

This Months Recipe

News from the Dawn Treader

April 2014

April is history and the Dawn Treader is going on the move again after some work and preparations we are moving to a new home to continue outfitting and improving our home. The new location is on the Okeechobee Waterway about 7 miles from the lake. This is a major cutoff through the state and will allow access to both the Atlantic and the Gulf with ease. It will also put the boat within 3 miles of a DYI Boatyard. The location was only and hour and a half drive from Gasparilla but is 3 to 4 days by boat depending on side trips and of coarse wind. However it is a lot more interesting than driving.

I got to take a preview trip a week or so before as we moved Ilie’s boat to Turkey Creek. We spent the weeks before getting things tidied up and preparing the boat. Things like pumping out the holding tank. One unexpected thing was replacing the water pump on the engine. Boat engines have 2  - one to bring sea water in and one to circulate antifreeze just like in a car. That’s the one that had to be replaced. The Photos this month are from the trip up to Turkey Creek in Ilie’s boat. We had a few interesting moments when we discovered a leak in the line for the transmission cooler, and when one engine suddenly shut down. Mark the moving Capitan however was more than up to the task as he docked the 50+ footer with only the port engine. The mystery was not solved and when ever the port engine was started the other died for about 10 minutes. Still we made it safely but had to turn the boat on ropes after docking at Turkey Creek.

Dawn and I plan to leave sometime between the 3rd and the 5th depending on the weather. We are looking forward to some long deserved sight seeing on the way and plan a few extra stops.

We could make it in 2 days most likely and if Dawn Treader will be a nice lady we will enjoy a few side trips and some testing of some equipment. The wind generator and solar cells are still not on board so we have to run the engine at least a couple hours a day to keep the batteries charged. One more new thing is we now have our new Jetpack from Verizon for our own Internet connection wherever we happen to be now! Dawn is enthralled!

The next few days we will be collecting things and visiting some of our new friends before taking off.

Our neighbor is going to like our recipe for next month it is made with beer! Hope you all enjoy this month's recipe.

News From The Dawn Treader

March 2014

Well it’s late again. Perhaps some day we will get it out on time any way here is the March news letter and it’ s only April 8!

First Happy Birthday to all of you that have March Birthdays.

We have been continuing to add upgrades to the boat to prepare it for journeys.

This month’s additions were courtesy of Mariners Trader, a fellow Englewood Sailing Association member, and Sears.

Of the new additions the most important yet we hope least useful is a Sea Anchor (also called a Para anchor or drogue), basically it looks like a parachute and is used in high winds when the boat can no longer be held hove to with sails.

It is one of those things you hope you never use but are if big trouble if you need it and don’t have it. We got it for only $107 in very good used condition.

The other will be used much more often. We now have a small outboard motor for our service dingy which will allow us 3 modes of use. We have ores, a sail rig, and now an outboard motor to get us to ashore and back when we are anchored and to just have fun exploring some of the small islands around us.

The upgrade of our new refrigerator was a very welcome addition to the galley. The original one was a single door with the freezer section inside. It did not keep things frozen and would frost up so badly that defrosting became a bi-weekly chore. With a separate freezer section it is now like a home unit and we have been able to keep some nice delicacies such as frozen lobster and ice cream!

It will also work with our inverter so we do not loose our food when we sail.

We also had to replace the fresh water system as it was leaking. The previous owners attempted to glue the water pump together and it was leaking water into the bilge. So now Dawn Treader has a new and much quieter water pressure system. When we are docked we have 2 options for our water supply. Direct from the city water supply or to draw from our own tank aboard the boat. She carries 100 gallons of water on board. We cycle it through to keep it always fresh.

The next scheduled projects are the plumbing system and port lights.

However time is getting short and we will have all of our business projects concluded by the end of April.

Our ground transportation has to have a few things as well. The Volkswagen Cer has developed spastic headlights. We never know if they are going to work or not tell we turn them on. The best parts and repair shop in existence has been researching the problem and the new parts well be delivered shortly. However we have to find a shop in Florida to install them.

The visitors to our marina this month include the Army Corps of Engineers humongous crane. The are working on a bridge project close by and it is interesting to watch it come and go. However it usually leaves about 6 something in the morning!

We have no new recipes for this month’s news letter. I regret to say that because of this months busy schedule we have met for dinner more often than we cooked in. However we did manage to grill a lobster dinner on the Magma Grill. Take the lobster tails and wrap in foil and depending on your grill do about 4 minutes on each side until the shell turns red. If you have a particularly hot grill cut to 3 minutes and serve with an artichoke for a great treat.

Hopefully there will be some new things for the galley one teaser is a rolled spinach flank steak, and a special salad shared by one of the neighbors.

Also, I hope to catch up and actually get it out on time!

Charlie and Dawn aboard the Dawn Treader.

News from Dawn Treader

February 2014

February slipped by so fast and the news letter is late!

I could use the excuse that them month was short a few days however, the month was a busy time around Gasparilla. Our new found friends left for the other side of Florida and possibly a trip back home with their boat last week. So to Dave and Britta aboard “Anam Cara” we wish fair winds and smooth sailing, we will miss them.

Improvements aboard Dawn Treader continue as we prepare for our journeys. This month’s additions included a new refrigerator and toaster oven. It may seem trivial to get one with a separate freezer compartment but on a boat the frost problem is constant and the old freezer section seldom kept foods frozen. We actually stored ice cream for a few days for the first time since moving on to the boat.

The new toaster oven replaced the one we brought from Arizona when we moved. I wish to thank Melody for giving it to us as it served well this past year and many of the recipes were developed using it.

Both of us have been working a temporary job and so we have not developed any new recipes for this month however we have taken advantage of Trader Joe’s frozen Swordfish and our new Magma Grill. They also have a great Crab Stuffed Flounder so we hope you have one nearby.

Dawn and I took a 3 day mini-vacation and traveled to Tarpon Springs. It is the Sponge Capital of the world and commercial sponge diving is still prevalent however it is probably more famous for the many Greek Restaurants and pleasant shopping. The photos this month are from that trip. We took a tour on an authentic sponge boat that included a demonstration of the original sponge diving technique.

I am concluding my temporary position at the end of next week and will be pulling our boat out of the water for some preparations for casting off later. The items on the list include the packing for the prop shaft, a cutlass bearing, checking all through hulls, and improvements to the head plumbing system, While Dawn Treader is in the maintenance all the check valves will be reconditioned or replaced. During this time access to our home will be via a long ladder so it will also be a minor physical fitness program as well.

All in all it has been a great time of getting to know all  the systems on the boat and making new contacts as well, to all those who have been recently added to our mailing list - Welcome Aboard!

News from the Dawn Treader

January 2014

Hello Everyone

First I would like to wish all the people with January Birthdays a Happy Birthday.

It has been a real pain to access my Facebook page so I will take the time here for happy wishes.

We have has some negative weather here and for a few days it got as low as 34 at night and in the 50’s during the day and today it is over cast with drizzles but in general it has been just a few days then warm again in the middle 70’s. Many or the people here have been escaping snow storms and blizzards so we really do not have any complaints.

I have taken the time for some heavy maintenance and dismantled the cooling system for heavy cleaning then flushed the engine as well. In the process it was discovered that the lines to the house water heater system were clogged which prevented the engine from heating the water. Many boats have duel systems for water heaters. Electric for shore power much like a home unit and circulated engine coolant much like a heater in a car for when out to sea.  This line was clogged with scale and such so it had to be flushed to be free flowing. Running the engine during docking or anchoring usually provides enough hot water to last for a couple showers and dishes.

We also added an Inverter that converts 12 volts DC from the batteries to 110 AC for accessories such as the refrigerator computers DVD player and such. I am currently working on the wind generator that will recharge our batteries under sail and at anchor with any winds. Our goal is to have everything installed and tested by April.


Dave and Britta on the Anam Cara returned and were working on preparing their boat for sale. They cruised in the Caribbean and Latin America for about 5 years and now wish to return to Spain to be with family. Interior photos of their boat will give you an idea of the accommodations on a cruising sailboat. Ours is too messy at present to be photogenic.

Brian and Angie on Paradigm finished a circuit from Freeport Texas to the Keys and back through the ICW and are heading back to Texas.

Dave and Shirley Van Antwerp had a boat christening for Flying Cloud and many of the Englewood Sailing Association attended.

On the home front Dawn, Sue, and Pat updated the club website. Take a look to see the things that have been happening with the youth sailing program here in Englewood Florida. The club was recently given a grant to buy some more Pico 12’s to expand the classes. www.englewoodsailing.org will bring up the site.

Hope none of you are freezing and enjoy the photos from around the marina this month!


Adding Italian Seasoning or Oregano to prepared Spaghetti Sauce will make it taste like it was simmered for the day yet only take 30 minutes or so. Add your choice of meats, our favorite is a mix of Italian Sausage and Ground Beef but we have used Ground Turkey and leftovers.

For quick grilling flavor with out the marinade and time it takes to do so  I use Cavender’s All Purpose Greek Seasoning and a dash of Lee n’ Perrin’s Worchester (optional) I also use the Greek Seasoning for my Single Skillet Breakfast. (Dawn loves my breakfasts)

December 22, 2013

Hello everyone.

We wanted to take time to wish every one a Merry Christmas and to drop a little reminder of what it was all about in the first place. With all the travel and bustle it is easy to forget that first Christmas Present so long ago in that far away town of Bethlehem!

Our wish is that as people exchange gifts they remember the reason that we do so,

 because we were given the gift of life and redemption in the form of the Christ Child who grew to be our doorway into God’s Kingdom.

With that said we are grateful to be in a beautiful place among many new friends.

Our neighbor’s web page starts out with the fact that many times cruising in ones sailboat requires us to make repairs however most of the time it is repairing your boat in beautiful places. 

We don’t have a lawn to mow but we do have decks to wash as the birds leave reminders that one of the preferred eating perches is on our spreader bars!

We had a lighted boat parade that went to our old marina and back in the Inter Coastal Waterway and then a party in the grill at our marina. We had 7 boats from our marina and sad to say the Dawn Treader was not one of them. We are still working on our heat exchanger after the last trip as it still is not flowing freely. It will be our Christmas present to our boat and our selves.

Dawn is currently sewing some cushion covers for one of the sailing club members and we hope to buy a heave duty machine later for our own work.

We get asked many times what is it like to live on a boat?

I always start with “Well it has its ups and downs” which breaks the ice and gathers a few laughs. However the reality is that it is like any other home or rather small apartment. Much like the people that live in a motor home or travel trailer full time. We must make concessions to what we can carry and how we cook. In fact it is amazing how simplified life becomes aboard the boat. We get to see far more scenery and meet very interesting people and sometimes just over coming some of the challenges leads us to new friendships. We are lucky so far in that nothing serious has happened. One couple who had they engine break off the mounts almost lost their boat. On the way down to the keys their engine broke its timing belt and bent all the valves requiring a serious cylinder head replacement. Last night a large Tri-Marian was towed in when the engine developed a serious knock. We have been reviewing Lin and Larry’s book

Self Sufficient Sailor” especially the chapters on sailing engineless. It is called and auxiliary engine, however in the narrow channels here in Florida and in many ports it is a necessary thing but still it is good to know what to do if things go wrong --- go wrong----- go rong <sigh>

Again we wish our many friends a very Merry Christmas and a great New Year.

Charlie and Dawn aboard the Dawn Treader somewhere in Florida.

News from the Dawn Treader

December 1, 2013

It has been a very busy 2 months. We had a visit from a long time friend from Arizona and Joanne had her first nights sleep on a sailboat. We went to Capitiva for lunch at the Mucky Duck which turns out to be a very well known place. It also has a sister pub in England and when Joanne got home she wore a “T” shirt she bought and had a lady start a conversation about the one in her home town in England and 2 other of her bridge friends comment that they too had visited the one here! It always amazes me the connections one makes with simple things.

We went to Bush Gardens with Joanne and her long time friend from Minnesota who was glad of the warm weather.

Bush Gardens Ta is themed as an African Safari Park so we went on the Safari and had a great experience not only viewing some rare animals but actually feeding giraffes.

Remember you can always tell a girl zebra from a boy zebra because the male is white with black stripes and the female is black with white stripes!

Dawn completed a class in sailing this month and did great without a capsize. It is so much faster reacting in a small boat especially when the wind pipes up. Quick reactions are a must

We met another cruising couple Dave and Brita who have spent 5 years in the Caribbean and Central America. Not only are we getting some really great pointers but have been buying some of the necessary equipment from them as they are planning to sell the boat and live in Spain. Much of it was never used but is safety equipment that you hope you never use but are darn glad if you need it. I also bought a sextant from them. 

We finally have all the fuel leaks fixed which required a couple of new injector lines. It was very hard to trace down the leak as they were so small and buried in the engine compartment.  Replacing the lines was similar to figuring out one of those Chinese Wire Puzzles! Next project is to replace spreader lights with the new LED versions so they can also double as anchor lights as they dray very little power compared even to conventional lox voltage bulbs.

Special Thanks to members of the sailing club. Steve and Sue Rosen for inviting us to share Thanksgiving with them and members of their family.

Wherever we go it seems people are curious about what it is like to live on a sailboat. We explain mostly it is similar to living in an RV. I know several people that live full time and travel in RV’s as well as boats. However the most interesting question to date was when we were asked if we cook on our boat, so we have some recipes for this month’s newsletter.

Both dawn and I love to cook and so we trade off and one of the new acquisitions this month was a Magma Grill which does so much more than just grill foods. It can also be used as a spare stove. One problem is the same as those that live on land and that is adapting things for only 2 people. Before when I lived on my Ericson 32, in California I would do dinners for 2 and than freeze half for later. However like now we have a very small freezer and even our refrigerator is about ¼ or less than the size of even a small house refrigerator so good planning is a must, also we take advantage of local farmers markets when ever we can and use up all fresh produce and frozen meats first when we travel. I also want to thank Fred one of the sailing club members for donating fresh home grown off the tree Papayas!

Charlie and Dawn aboard Dawn Treader

This months Recipes

News from the Dawn Treader

September 22, 2013

We have had another busy month, and we have a birth announcement!

Our boat gave birth to a beautiful bouncing baby sailing dingy!

Actually we were able to acquire the Walker Bay Sail Rig.

Now we have a choice of sail power or rowing. Soon it will also have a small outboard for those days of no wind or strong currents. Our first trip never made it out of the Yacht Basin before we lost wind and had to row back. However our next trip went out to the ICW and we managed to run aground twice trying to avoid the big boats in the channel. So we raised the daggerboard and pushed off with the ore and just 3 feet away it is the channel entrance to the marina!

 I had intended to make this issue a story of food aboard the Dawn Treader however the first mate is running behind on the recipe writing, so I hope that the last ones were useful. Just a sneak preview one of the upcoming dishes is a delightful Seafood Stuffed Poblano Pepper that Dawn invented while living in Mexico!

The news for this month centers on the Englewood Sailing Association and its float entry in the Englewood Founders Day Parade, and some unexpected repairs.

First the parade; the theme this year was “Englewood goes Hollywood”, and this year the club decided on making Peter Pan the theme of the float. This would allow many of the children that take the sailing classes to participate.

The float won a trophy for the club.

We took a trip out to the ICW to check the systems and when we returned found some diesel fuel in the bilge. The fuel tank had just been replaced so it was not the tank. After investigation a line to the injector was found to be seeping.

Thinking the leak was stopped we tried again and still found some fuel so back to the engine and finally found the culprit. Yet another line was leaking however it was under all the others so it could not be seen directly. That one required a new part which to replace was a lot like solving those Chinese wire puzzles. It took a lot of fitting maneuvering and bleeding, but finally got it in and stopped the leak!

The weather is starting to cool off and the end of the hurricane season is in sight so trips to the Keys and beyond will soon be on the horizon. In the mean time we continue to help with the sailing classes through the Englewood Sailing Association, check out their web page at www.englewoodsailing.org!

Again if you wish to be removed just put unsubscribe in the subject line. I have updated the list but may have missed some. Our Facebook page has been modified to only read “Dawn Treader” now, but some one informed me there is more than one so look for the photo of the boat. If you have a Facebook page just send it to me with a request and a friend invitation will be sent.

News from Dawn Treader

August 21, 2013

It has been a busy time for us.

We finished replacing the fuel tank and did a small trial run then moved to a new marina.

We made a video but right now it is too big to send and so it has been posted on the Dawn Treader Facebook Page. So if you haven’t visited it yet take a look and be sure to become friends!

(The page again is Dawn Treader)

After moving we had some of those normal things to attend to like physicals, blood test, and other business things so we packed in some sight seeing on land as well. So we took the time to visit some tourist attraction in the Fort Myers area.

We also continue our walks in the evenings so we have included some photos of the trip to Fort Myers and interesting things on our walk as well as a view of our new marina and neighbors.

We have some short trips planned however it is looking like there will not be any significant weather other than the occasional thunderstorm.

We are on the float committee for the Founders Day Parade and the Englewood Sailing Association is going to field a float with Peter Pan and all the extras and the President of the club is Capitan Hook. Several of the sailing club students are going to provide the Lost  Boys, Peter Pan, Tiger Lilly and of coarse Wendy, John, and Michael.

It has been a great experience working with these young people and watching a love of sailing grow.

We had a family sail a couple weeks ago and Dawn and I got to experience sailing a small 12 foot Pico. They respond much faster than Dawn Treader. Last week end it was the Intermediate class and I manned the safety boat while Dawn spent time in the 14 foot Holder.

After lunch the students had a free sail and a few of the kids started a kind of sailing polo which was a great lark for them and watching them maneuver the sailboats was quite entertaining.

Our new home is much closer to an inlet to not only the Gulf but also to a small bay and pier that we are anxious to get our fishing poles into. So until next time we are sending along some of the recipes that Dawn has used and developed since we started living on our boat and some photos of our recent travels. Hopefully we will figure out how to edit and crop the videos so they can be included. Remember you do not have to have a Facebook Page to visit ours but if you do we would like to have you share with us.

A special note about Dawn’s recipes: we have used a toaster oven and have actually found ways to make things for 2 which is sometimes tricky. Also some things are shortened because of having a limited galley on board. Also our refrigerator is about 1/4 the size (maybe smaller) than a home refrigerator so we don't keep many leftovers  I  hope you enjoy these. 

Dawn’s Recipes

Aboard the Dawn Treader

June 20, 2013

We have survived our first Tropical Storm – Andréa!

The only damage we had was the water hose pulled out of the fitting necessitating a drive in to Port Charlotte to get a replacement at West Marine. The winds were about 70 MPH and it was pouring rain. There was some flooding and a tornado touched down in the next county however there was no significant damage. 

We continue to repair items that somehow escaped the attention of the person that did the survey!

So far we have rebuilt the steering after a trip to Clearwater and just received a shipment of epoxy to install our new fuel tank. We lost a little over 30 gallons of diesel fuel to contamination because of the old tanks leaks. The boom has been rebuilt with new ropes throughout for the out-haul and reefing system. The main-sail had two new panels and a couple of the pockets for the stays re-stitched. Scrapping the old Aluminum Fuel tank was problematic at best. In the end we got about $26 for it but I had to show more ID than at the airport. Guess metals theft has become quite a problem.

We have also been busy with the Englewood Sailing Association. There was a 2 day class to introduce young people to sailing and this last week a sailing summer c sponsored by the YMCA. There will be another c in July and we hope to take Dawn Treader to Lemon Bay and anchor for the c. It will give the students a look at a “Big Boat”!

One of the biggest differences sailing in the gulf is the lack of water! Some parts of the bay are only 2 feet deep. I never had that problem on the West Coast.

The summer is warming up here and we are seeing 80-90 days and sometimes as low as 75 at night. Our portable hatch air conditioner is running a lot most days. However usually in the evenings there is a cool breeze off the ocean.

We had hopes of sailing up the Atlantic Coast but with the repairs that were necessary that plan is postponed.

We met a couple that sailed from Texas and they are heading for the Bahamas perhaps at the end of the month.

However, everyone is now keeping a weather eye open as the Hurricane Season has started. This marina is well located to survive the season and if it gets bad we can always take the boat back to the storage yard and put it “on the hard!” (Boat Talk for land storage) They have very heavy storm anchors that are used to chain the boats down.

However there is a pretty good chance we will miss the main force of any storms.

So for now we are still getting used to navigating the narrow channels of the ICW (Inter Coastal Waterway) which are supposed to be dredged to a depth of 8 feet minimum! We have brushed bottom only once so far and my boat only draws 4.5 feet.

We have already had fresh fish that we caught ourselves (I’m learning to fish) and soon the Scallop season will be here so we dusted off our snorkels to get ready. We would like to outfit our new dingy with sails and a small outboard but for now we row.

How is life aboard?

In general it is pretty wonderful. Every day there is something new and interesting. We had a family of Manatees visit for a few days and there was a Dolphin hunting for it’s dinner. We got to watch it actually jump and catch one right beside our boat. There was a small Alligator but it did not stay long because the salt water irritates their eyes.

From the Gulf Coast of Florida

C-D &;; DT 



May 30 2013

Replacing the fuel tank has taken much more time than originally planned. We had to deal with one shop that misrepresented the original work and delayed us about 3 weeks. The second shop however, did a super fine job and during the almost 5 week delay we had some other things to keep us busy. Every day after dinner we take walks around the marina to help keep in shape. Join us in our short tour through the forest that is a short distance from our boat. 

The start of the tour is our boat and then out to some woods close by. One the way we pass what we call the Paddle Shack. Kayaks and Paddle Boards can be rented. Spme interesting things found include rabbits, bushy tailed squirrels, sometimes a possum and the other day we rescued a tortoise that attempted to cross a busy street. There is even an armadillo or two.

While waiting for the tank I started refinishing the floor panels that are access to the water and fuel tanks. Dawn sanded and varnished the cockpit table. Last week I helped sand Steve’s sailboat. His was smaller than mine but it still took 2 days. Steve has been instrumental in not only helping me with my boat but introducing me to a great bunch of people that run the Englewood Sailing Association. Their help, advice and general knowledge of local waters as well as just tons of sailing experience has been the best part of owning a sailboat in Florida. The Marina is starting to fill up and so far there are 3 transient boats. One couple from Texas on the way to the Bahamas, another couple heading to North Carolina and one very large Catamaran that took the owner 14 years to build. He is in the process of installing the mast and rigging and will head out in spring. They brought the boat all the way down the Mississippi River and then through the ICW to here powered by 2 outboard motors. That’s about all for now the next week will see us in a gigantic organizational binge to get reedy for some shakedown trips. Sailing in these waters requires good local knowledge of the passes and constant attention to the tides.

It has taken a little longer than I would have liked and the weather has become a bit warm but still our home is beautiful inside and out.