amateur homevideo

Here is a link to the YouTube channel where I posted my first attempt at film making.

It is a 14 minute compilation of our first Atlantic crossing and Baltic cruise aboard Sailboat DAGNY

Advertisements

Another Sailing Adventure – Catalina 22

0514160824Jacksonville, Florida – Petur had promised not to buy any more boats until he finished a few existing projects.  But this old Catalina was too good a deal to pass up! And the poor fella advertising on Craigslist was so desperate to sell that he phoned me daily until we relented and returned for a second look.

20160502_095640

Good old boat

The 22 foot Catalina, built in 1973, had racked up dock fees, and the owner had moved her to an anchorage. A summer storm came along and she dragged. A good Samaritan helpfully re-anchored, adding, for good measure, an additional stern-anchor.  Which meant that, being unable to swing to lee, she filled with rainwater with the next summer downpour.  The desperate owner watched her sinking and phoned me again, lowering his price and throwing in the perfectly good trailer for free.  So we bit.

Arriving with cash in hand, only then did we realize that there was no rudder.  And there was no nearby ramp to haul her out with.  So we bailed out the freshwater, clamped our long-shaft outboard motor on, and Petur managed to steer the boat with the motor-tiller. We decided to make the day-trip from the marina near Trout River to the boatyard in Green Cove Springs.

jax-skyline

Jacksonville, Florida

The first few hours, we were excited, moving happily with the sails up and engine on low speed. Then we felt the tide change and slow us down. A dark sky formed and wind whipped up, and we took the sails down and put the motor on full-throttle. Waves built, causing the boat to roll – every time a wave lifted us, the propeller cavitated, so I crouched close to Petur in the corner of the stern to add my weight.  It was starting to get dark – we had to find a stopping place – no way could we make it another few miles that night!

Luckily, the Rudder Club was welcoming. We pulled in to a wet-slip, co-incidentally next to a new sleek Catalina 22.

20160411_175739

Catalina 22’s New and Old

Next day at home, Petur whipped up a rudder, using a piece of scrap wood he had lying around, and we soon sailed happily to our local boatyard, where we spent a few days cleaning and repairing. We were delighted that the sails and rigging were in great condition. The drop-keel worked fine, the interior was clean, there were no leaks anywhere. We cut and covered some foam cushions and fixed a few little things. Then we were ready for a weekend aboard.  We packed a cooler with way more food than we could eat, loaded up a pile of pillows and blankets, stowed the portable-potty in the nifty spot forward, remembered the sun-screen and dog-food and flash-light, and first-aid kit and tool-box and reading-lamp and battery-powered fan, and we were quite well loaded for just a few nights.20160501_104835

 

The St Johns River is the best kept secret in North Florida.  I should probably not be writing it up, lest it be discovered and ruined.  Oh, it already has been discovered – there was a fishing tournament involving droves of high-speed boats with ear-splitting engines and frightening paths. Dozens of these craft whipped past, so fast you could just take in the fact that some drivers wore goggles and protective face masks.  Look out, everyone!

bass-boat120160430_192235

Heading upriver (south, that is) we ambled along, keeping the sails filled.  I was not paying  close attention to the channel markers, and was surprised when suddenly we whammed into a soft shallow.  Oops! Petur dropped the sail, we cranked up the keel, and I shoved us off using the boat-hook. The tide was rapidly receding, and now that I looked, I could see water-grasses breaking the surface. No worries, we were free.  I reached back and cranked up the outboard motor.  Rrrrr!  YIKES!  The engine noise had freaked out a hidden manatee, who probably thought I was going to slice him open – he leaped and thrashed, making a big splash!  Sorry, Manatee!  I didn’t mean to scare you!  I doused the engine and we drifted to a safer distance from the bed of green grass before proceeding.

We passed fancy waterfront homes, small towns of former fish-camp glory, a few sea-food restaurants and marinas and RV campgrounds. We enjoyed free dockage and hot showers at the sleepy town of Welaka, and the next day continued to join a party of friends at a waterfront eatery. I found a patch of water so clean I jumped in for a refreshing swim.

Then we snagged a crab-trap, which got snarled up in the rudder and had to be extricated carefully.  It was time to head on home – after a few days shifting around such a small boat, you are definitely ready to return to land!

20160501_185317

Up came the wind – yay! Real sailing, really swift, speeding over the sparkling river, ripping right along, I was keeping an eye on the channel markers now, having realized that way up river, there is a narrowly-defined channel which does not always co-ordinate with your wind direction.  I was steering, Petur was standing by to help move the sail from side to side as we tacked, and the wind rose and fell like a breathing being.  It rose again – higher than before – wheeeee!  Whizzing along, heeling hard!  I was getting a little bit over-stimulated! I wanted to slow down! What should I do?! I shouted into the wind; Petur could not hear. Should I drive into it or steer away? What about the depth? Maybe I ought to ease the sheet. How exciting! Whoooo!  Then: pop! snap! The boat suddenly veered! What happened!?!

The rudder had snapped!

20160501_200840

EEK! Rudder snapped!

Another mishap on the water! Back to steering with the outboard motor – luckily we had a nearby friend, and were able to borrow her dock, and get a ride home. And this time, make sure the new rudder was strong enough!

20160503_110741-1

Back underway!

Itching for the Sea

023Sometimes you sit on shore and ask yourself, “How long has it been since I went sailing?”  You don’t count the brief sea-trips you took on someone else’s agenda, you are thinking back to when you lived aboard your own boat.  Memories return as you ponder your photo gallery.

Now you are day-dreaming about what you need to do to get your boat sea-worthy and then wonder where you should go.  Shakedown cruise to Cuba? Nova Scotia? I know – Florida to Portugal, then to Rio de Janiero, Brasil in order to anchor in their cesspool and enjoy the big party during the 2016 Olympics.  Yeah, we should do that.  Now, for that list of chores to get the boat ready…

Whew, is it fun to re-step a mast with a too-small boom and rising tide!

Whew, is it fun to re-step a mast with a too-small boom and rising tide!

Sailing Memories

Caribbean boys clamor to come aboard

Caribbean boys clamor to come aboard

Stormy seas with north Spain in background

Stormy seas with north Spain in background

Passports

Big view of Burgeo, Newfoundland

Big view of Burgeo, Newfoundland

View from top of DAGNY's mast, Powder Hole, Bermuda

View from top of DAGNY’s mast, Powder Hole, Bermuda

Yacht Club Race Day

No they are not being swamped - these fishermen are just hiding behind the waves

No they are not being swamped – these fishermen are just hiding behind the waves

At sea one must find things to amuse oneself - Make a boat from a tin can!

At sea one must find things to amuse oneself – Make a boat from a tin can!

Fjord

Cudillero, Spain - Must motor to make this harbour!

Cudillero, Spain – Must motor to make this harbour!

DAGNY layout drawing 329

steering between islands on one small jib

steering between islands on one small jib

view from top big bumpkin Galley Boating in Iceland

It's a ring photo - We bought matching gold bands and married in 2009

It’s a ring photo – We bought matching gold bands and married in 2009

newfoundland

Dagny Rocks, a memoir from a lifetime at sea

It’s an eBook.cropped-porlamar-to-navimca-265.jpg

Rhea grows up in the hippie days of the 70’s aboard a hand-built, ocean-voyaging tugboat, home-schooled with her siblings while her parents tow nuclear-reactors and molasses barges. Later she joins Icelander Petur on his 72 foot sailing ketch, Dagny, as they voyage for eight years from Newfoundland to Poland to Venezuela and back. “Nobody has more sea-time than Rhea!”

With an ever-changing crew, Dagny voyages nearly non-stop happily surviving mechanical failures, ripped sails, a keel conversion, irate port captains, multiple mast-removals, and two Newfoundland winters. Petur and Rhea try land life again, before motor-sailing to Greenland and Iceland on a 44 foot Moody delivery.  Adventures continue when Dagny is put back together and sets off for points south. As they re-visit ports from Rhea’s childhood, she flashes back to the days of growing up on a tugboat.

all rights reserved
Buy a copy or download a free sample at these eBook links:http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dagny-rocks-rhea-d-smith/1118427798

https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/dagny-rocks/id797896071?mt=11

https://smashwords.com/books/view/385629  –  After you sign up,  if you send me a request for a code, I’ll give you one and you can get a free copy!   On some devices, you have to open your downloads and send it to your e-reader library (i.e. Kindle)

http://www.flipkart.com/search?q=Dagny+Rocks&as=off&as-show=off&otracker=start  The book costs 194 Rupees at Flipcart, my Indian friends!

https://store.kobobooks.com/search?Query=Dagny+Rocks

http://www.inktera.com/store/title/c7240867-c79d-4ceb-800f-cf251dcb71fa

If you are a paid member of Oyster or Scribd, you can read it there!

Amazon won’t accept it until I sell 500 copies (unless I pay them and give them exclusive rights).  However, if you have the Kindle app, you can sign into Smashwords.com and store it into your Kindle library (I did – I like Kindle books).

Leave a comment below or send me an email at rheasmit@gmail.com

image