Monday, December 29, 2008

Warm and Fuzzy


Despite saying that we didn't want anything for Christmas, we drove back from Virginia loaded down with bags and boxes of new, sweet smelling stuff. Sweaters, books, shampoos, dog toys and of course, leftover Christmas food, made for the majority of our loot. Why is it that when you say you don't want anything for Christmas, no one ever believes you? 

It was nice to be warm, without relying on a wood stove or ceramic heaters blowing on your toes. I noticed how the majority of people are completely disconnected from the elements. Houses are warm, cars are warm, stores are warm, the only brief encounter with the outside comes from migrating between any of these destinations. Except if you are a smoker,in which case, due to the new laws and general smoking snobbery, you will be forced to spend some time outdoors. 

I love the outdoors, and even though it was freezing one day, it did warm up to almost 60 the next! We took that opportunity to feed the neighbor's horse some apples. That was my first time ever feeding a horse, they're so big and slobbery!  I was scared, but Rusty turned out to be a "sweet'olethang" and that made me feel warm and fuzzy...

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bitter boatwork

Well the first coat of bilge paint has been successfully applied to that beast of a spot under the cockpit! One more to go. Travis made some headway on the galley cabinets as well before the cold got to be too much and we headed home with our tails between our legs. I hate the f#&ing cold!

Monday, December 8, 2008

A Day in the Life

The day started cold and dreary   
and things were not looking good
Breakfast first, then boat work


  Not ready!  Not Ready!      
 Just think happy thoughts!
  What's Travis doing?
  And where's Chopper?
OUCH! This hurts!  

 Is this the worst job ever?
No, remember this?    

 And how can you forget...?
I'll definitely try to forget this! 

 Can we go home now?
Just as soon as I'm done           
with the mortise!             

Meanwhile, back at the house,
Billy awaits the "food givers"
Yeah! They're finally home!  

Billy! I missed you!
and now for an adult beverage
 and the days misery is forgotten!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Cold and Cranky


It is the beginning of December and the cold has become nearly unbearable. This only makes us want to work harder to complete our boat and sail off to a more livable climate. But, as is so often true, what we want to do is not what we are capable of doing. We find ourselves moving slower as it gets colder and knowing that the "real cold" doesn't usually happen until February is no consolation. We are doing what we can, which is pale in comparison to what we would like to do. It is fair to say that winter is not among my favorite things. To add to the difficulty of the time, I have been working a real job now for two whole weeks. I honestly didn't think I would last this long. I get up in the dark at 5:30 am and have a nice breakfast, fix my lunch and go to build boats until it is nearly dark again. Now it seems all I do is sleep and work on boats. As a result of a forty hour a week job, I can now only afford two days a week working on Me Voy instead of three like before. So, this week we decided to take off for Oxford on Friday night at about 5:00pm. Bad Idea. Rush hour through Annapolis is worse than rush hour through Baltimore. We arrived at about 8:30 to a very dark and cold boat. Our little heaters did little to warm the space through the night but some good hard work warmed it right up on Saturday. I began work in the galley, starting to build some new cabinetry. The first step was to cut a dado by hand in a new post. There is nothing like whittling away at a nice piece of mahogany with primitive tools. It is a great way to warm yourself on a cold day. The post is cut and most of the pieces are installed in the cabinet so next week I should get it all ready for the new drawer, which I will build here at the shop beside the wood stove.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Cold spots

Well, it has done it. Its gotten cold. I never think that I'm going to live in a cold climate another year, and here it is, year four! in Baltimore. If it wasn't for Me Voy, we'd be living someplace warm, wishing for a boat. Instead, I wear long johns, and wool undershirts, and use hand tools to stay warm. 

And there was plenty  to keep me warm the past couple of weekends. I kept on with the forward berth re-build, and am pleased with the results  so far.There is still one piece of floor to go, ...and then everything else! 

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Winter Wood Replacement

Travis :

It has been a few weeks since I last posted. I haven't really been that busy, just lazy I guess. The shorter days and the increasingly cold weather is bringing us all down these days. It's hard to keep going at all, much less try and keep the same kind of pace I had earlier in the year. Even Chopper has slowed down quite a bit. Most peaple who have met him find it hard to believe he ever stops, so we took the lazy picture above just to prove it. He hates cold weather and we don't like it either. Despite our suffering from Season Affective Disorder we are still chugging along on the enormous refit of Me Voy. Two weeks ago I built some structural supports for the steering blocks and fixed some leaky deck fittings. This past week I faired and fiberglassed a large bulkhead repair and began replacing the hull planking in the engine room. Today I milled another mile or so of Mahogany for planking the last of it. After that there are about five more frames to build in and that will do it fo the hull. If we can overcome the urge to slip into hibernation, I should be past all this in a few weeks.

I also want to let everyone know what a fantastic boat carpenter Maggie is proving herself to be. Anyone who has ever seen her artwork knows that she is extremely talented in many mediums. Check out . You might be surprised, as I am, at how great she is becoming at fine woodwork. She has been doing some of the interior cabinetry work in our forward stateroom and has done a beautiful job. I hate to say it but I am not sure I could have done any better myself. I'll let her show the finished pictures when she posts. One more thing to update everyone on. Today I was offered a boatwright position with a newly opened yacht company. I wasn't really looking for a job, but with the economy tanking, I decided it might be a good idea to have a steady pay check. The company is called E Sailing Yachts. The currently are building a 33' daysailer / racer. I believe they have built about 15 so far. Check out the web site, .They are also working on plans with Sparkman and Stevens to design and build a bigger racing / cruiser. Anyway, I am starting on Monday. This doesn't mean that I will no longer be available to build you a new cedar strip sailing dinghy. My evenings are still free for side work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Slowly But Surely


Well we're trying to gain some momentum on the boat work after a spotty September and October. It's difficult to get going during this season of early darkness but our hope is to still have Me Voy in the water come Spring.

This weekend Travis got the cockpit and stern ready for paint. That hell awaits me now, with the grueling routine of two epoxy coats and two coats of paint while being squeezed, cramped, and sticky. The  aft part of the boat, which will serve as our "workroom" looks like hell right now, as you can see. That's the only part that needs the bilge still repaired and painted. 

I worked in the forward berth doing some  carpentry. I must say that was quite fun, even though Travis put some pressure on me to be "perfect". Its good that he has such high standards, coz I would propably rig something way too "home-made" for our classic look and move on.  Anyway I was hoping to actually finish the hold I was working on, but as with most boat work it takes way longer then you expect.

 I was pleased to see what  fantastic  job I did last year painting the forward holds, and was reminded again, as I climbed in and out of them, what great exercise I was getting. 

I'm thinking this weekend will be truly gratifying as the little cabinet I was working on will be finished, along with that nasty fiberglass job on the hull. And after that, I will no longer be able to put off the paint job that awaits. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Rowboats

Mr. Merle Baily came today to pick up his new boats. He drove all the way from Madison Wisconsin to get them and do some other business he had in the area. After overcoming the home stretch obstacle of losing the transmission in his car, and then the dreaded online directions, he arrived safe and sound at the shop. He was very excited to see his new girls for the first time, and seemed very pleased with the job I did, even though I made the bonehead mistake of installing the foot braces on the wrong end on one of the boats. I am pretty bummed to see them go but I am hoping to see them again someday when we cruise the great lakes. If you are ever up to Madison Wisconsin, look him up at Superior Watercraft & Tours. And while you're at it take a ride in one of my boats.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Schooner Rendezvous


I am pleased to say, after working a gruelling schedule for the past three weeks, I was able to finish the two rowboats I have been working on in time for the Schooner Rendezvous in Cambridge MD. It is an event I have been looking forward to, as well as dreading, for several months since Maggie and I were invited to crew on Rosalind. As Maggie said previously, our sailing experience has been limited to a few comic journeys around the Inner Harbor here in Baltimore on a 26' Grampian sloop. This would be our first real sailing trip.The captain of Rosalind, a 106 year old fishing ketch, is the great captain Richard Griffiths who seems to know everything about sailing. I once commented to him on his vast reserve of knowledge and he replied, "The reason I am so good now is because I have f***ed up in every way possible before now". This colorful bit of wisdom is just one of the ways he has set us at ease with our learning process. It is o-Kay to be ignorant if you are learning and it is o-Kay to make mistakes if you learn from them.

It was a cold day on Friday and both Maggie and I had some butterflies. Neither of us knew what to expect. Would Richard yell at us for being stupid? Would we do something that damaged his beautiful boat? Would he ask us to do something terribly dangerous? Would we be completely swallowed up in the "Mighty Choptank river??? As it turned out, Richard is a very patient and understanding captain who has a gift for gently yet strongly stating what needs to be done in a way that even idiots like us can understand. Maggie planted herself in front of the inner jib wench and my primary responsibilities were to handle the outer jib and staysail sheets.

Before long Richard asked me if I would like to take the helm. Of course I did!! She was a lot harder to steer than I imagined. It took a lot of strength at times to hold her on the wind. I was assured that our boat, with her modern steering barrient, would be much easier to handle. In fact, after crewing with four others on this complicated old rig with her six sails, I have much less apprehension about sailing our boat with her modern rig and only three sails. After a few very chilly hours of beating into the wind, we arrived at the port of Cambridge.

Check out the great job Maggie and I did flaking that mainsail!! Now it's back to work on our boat. I can't wait to take her for a sail!!!

You Down with OPB?

Well, we finally did it! Sailed on a "big boat" that is! And after all the speculation of  "what's it gonna feel like?" my final answer is  AWESOME!  It may seem kind of crazy to some that we bought a yacht without ever sailing one, but... we did. And seeing how great this experience is on so many different levels, I wouldn't change a thing, so there! 
Anyway I'm sure Travis will want to write about Rosilyn so I'll leave off here and get back to the work that got done on Me Voy. 
I finished fiberglassing that ugly spot in the hull

and since it rained most of Sat. I began to finish out a beam in the head that 
needed new wood.

Meanwhile Billy slept all weekend, while Chopper played with his boatyard nemesis, Skipper. Here Chopper is guarding the little squeaky while Skipper looks to me for help. 

Sunday, October 19, 2008


It was a solo work weekend for me as Travis had to work in Baltimore. I was looking forward to it in a way; it made me feel independent and self-sufficient to pack up tools and head for Oxford, just me and Chopper.  My mom warned me not to get into any tight spaces as there would be no one to pull me out in case I got stuck, but not to worry, I had my hands full with the rot previously discovered in the hull. 
I was greeted with the ugliness you see above, and the next step was to fair it and fill it with some epoxy and microfiller, which made it look like this...

This microlight filler is great because it sands soooo much easier then silica, but it has no resistance to sag, which means I spent nearly the whole day first day, chasing the sagging expoxy, until finally it set and looked liked this...

Now I just had to fair it some more and  I was ready for fiberglass. Oh yeah check out the neighboring spot that also needed some TLC.

That was day one. My goal for Sunday was to keep fairing and finish up with fiberglass, however
the day dawned cold and windy. Definetly too windy for fiberglass work. I've already learned that lesson once when I got slapped with saturated cloth right in the mouth due to the wind. So taking the path of least resistance I continued to sand and fill until I got the perfect smooth and shapely surface, that was now ready for fiberglass... next week.