Thursday, December 24, 2015

Sailing, As Metaphor, For Life

Choose a First Mate and vessel with good bones, not just good looks

Take care of your First Mate and ship, they'll take care of you

Always keep a lookout

In stormy weather, try to avoid lee shores

Shorten sail before stormy weather arrives

Be mindful of the kind of crew you take on board

The voyage is just as important as the destination

When all other means of navigation fail, look to the stars

While a good anchor is essential, a wise sailor has a backup

Technology is great, but...
 a lead line, compass, and sextant will do in a pinch

Go slow, so you can Truly See

There isn't much that can't be made better...
 by immersing the soul in salt water

Sailing solo is fun, but with friends - so much better

Reading, knowing, and feeling a thing...
are all very different matters

by Kelvin D. Meeks
copyright 2015

Tuesday, December 1, 2015


The cold winter chill has descended upon the Puget Sound area...28 F this morning, as I walked to the client office.  It will be in the low 70s F in the marina this week, far to the South.

The near-term is cloudy - and I wait for the figurative 'roll of the dice' on a certain matter. I am at peace with delays - or outcomes. For I am a Sailor - and I know well the craft of patience. Long days spent tacking back and forth to gain a few miles...days spent driving hard into waves to make a few miles....and the indeterminable pauses when the wind dies and you are becalmed.

"Waiting is, until fullness"
- Valentine Michael Smith
Strange in a Strange Land, by Robert A. Heinlein

Saturday, August 15, 2015

KC Professional Reversible Cordless Screwdriver, 21pcs #CDS36VXDT

I picked-up a KC Professional Reversible Cordless Screwdriver, 21pcs, Model #CDS36VXDT at Frys Electronics  tonight.  Paid $17.99 (#8400408, UPC #075877057587)

  • 3.6 Volts
  • Pistol Grip
  • LED indicators for Forward, Reverse, Charging
  • Charges in 3-5 hours
  • NiCad 600mah battery

My intention is to give it a try for a few hobby type tasks - but if it works sufficiently well, will consider adding another one to the boat kit.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Meeting Robert Perry

On Friday night I attended a talk organized by the Puget Sound Cruising Cub, given by the legendary yacht architect, Robert Perry - at the North Seattle Community College.

It was on an Islander 32 (one of his designs) that I took my first long distance voyage in 2004.

After the talk, I had a chance to have a quick chat and mentioned that I had previously owned one of his designs, and was able to express my deep appreciation for his work with: "I just wanted to thank you" - and shook his hand.

After the talk, a group gathered at Razzis Pizzeria - and I had the pleasure of meeting Wendy Hinman, the author of Tightwads on the Loose...

From the Amazon description of her book: Everyone dreams of tropical escape. But what happens when you escape for too long? Imagine spending 24 hours a day with your spouse in 31 not-so-square feet . . . for years; crossing the Pacific Ocean on two gallons of fuel; and tossing spaghetti marinara around your living room, then cleaning it up while bouncing like ice in a martini shaker. Tightwads on the Loose tells the story of Wendy and Garth, lured to sea by the promise of adventure. They buy a 31-foot boat that fits their budget better than it fits Garth's large frame and set sail for an open-ended voyage, never imagining they'd be gone seven years, or cover 34,000 miles at the pace of a fast walk. They live without most “necessities” and learn that teamwork and a sense of humor matter most as they face endless "character-building opportunities." They make a long-anticipated visit to the island where Garth had been shipwrecked as a teenager, only to find it had become a penal colony. An electronic catastrophe in the Solomon Islands leaves them without navigation equipment, which forces them to trade their free-wheeling lifestyle for one that seems straight out of a '60s sitcom: jobs at a U.S. Army base in the Marshall Islands. In Asia, they dodge typhoons and ships that threaten to turn their home into kindling. Finally they endure a grueling 49-day nonstop ocean crossing. None of this prepares them for their arrival "home" to a post-9/11 America which leaves them wondering what had changed more, them or the world. Tightwads on the Loose offers a fun read to the armchair adventurer -- or anyone afflicted with wanderlust."
Wendy mentioned that she and her husband are building a boat for their next sailing adventure - using cold-molded techniques.

What a great way to end the week, in fellowship with fellow sailors.

Cruise Ships Skipping Puerto Vallarta
"Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises and Disney Cruise Line have canceled calls this week in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, citing recent violence in the resort city."

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Salon Settee Remodel Ideas

On my 1963 35 ft. Pearson Alberg sailboat - the salon consists of two full-length settee on the port and starboard sides, with a center-line folding drop-leaf table in the center, near the forward bulkhead.

This arrangement is convenient for entertaining - and has proven useful for comfortably allowing two adults to sleep stretched out.

However, when living aboard, and needing to use the salon as an office - the cushions and the settee arrangement are not comfortable, and result in back aches and cramps in the leg/thigh muscles.

I want a salon that can function as a mini-office when needed.

Ideally, I would like to have an L-shaped desk space, mounting hardware setup for multiple flat panel monitors, and a comfortable ergonomic chair that can swivel.

This would mean removing the center-line table...which I'm not sure I really want to do (yet)...

 It would also mean cannibalizing some of the storage space that is built into the settee structure - and perhaps some structural reworking of the partial bulkheads.

The Attwood Centric II Seat has an interesting look ($239.99-259.99

The Tempress Marine NaviStyle High-Back Seat is possibly a viable option ($124.99

As well as the Tempress All-Weather High-Back Folding Seat ($89.99-99.99

There may be some simpler solutions to explore before embarking on a major remodeling project:

Found on Amazon:

 Picnic Time Portable Ventura Reclining Seat

RY-KY Products The COMFTABLE Fully Adjustable Deluxe Air Cushion Seat with Back Support

Monday, April 6, 2015

The Perfect Boat

Bob Bitchin's column last week on (Vintage Attitude - The Perfect Boat) is one of my favorites of all that he's ever written.

So many variables go into choosing the right boat.

  • The right time
  • The right budget
  • The right person
  • The right season
  • The right purpose

There are a few boats that I would consider The Perfect Boat (for me).

  • 48 ft. Hans Christian (although a nice 3 cabin layout in a 43 ft. would do in a pinch)

  • 55 ft. Tayana (one that I saw at the Strictly Sail in San Francisco years ago - with a custom work shop built into a starboard cabin...complete with a vise mounted into the worktable)

  • That 53 ft. custom dutch steel double-ender that I still keep searching to find again...the vessel's name was "S/V Atlantis"...and I should have bought it when it was on the market)

Friday, March 13, 2015

A Stranger Among The Land Dwellers

Land Dwellers are a confusing lot.

I dwell amongst them, but I am not of them.

When I must dwell amongst the Land Dwellers for a spell, I find I must mask my maritime nature so as to blend in with the masses - but I do not understand them.

The Land Dweller must always have more.
Those that voyage upon the waves seek to achieve more with less.

The Land Dweller strives against his environment - in a constant state of war against the forces of nature.
The master of a ship finds the optimal balance between the wind and tide to chart his course.

We of the sea-faring community - who believe in leaving a "clean wake" are aghast at the garbage that the Land Dweller casually tosses from their car or drops on the sidewalk, or the toxic waste that their collective communities allowed to be buried in the ground or dumped into their lakes and streams.

The Land Dweller assumes that he lives in a land-of-plenty.
We sea-dwellers assume that the next port may not have the provisions we need.

The Land Dweller assumes if it breaks, he can get a replacement at one of the big box stores.
We who survive upon the sea know that it is better to know how to fix than to replace.

The Land Dweller lusts after the new-and-shiny.
Those that are masters of their own ships know that sturdy beats the hell out of shiny any day.

While the Land Dweller assumes the beautiful weather will continue,
We watch the barometer...for the inevitable fall...

When the storms knock-out the power, the Land Dweller is bewildered with what to do.
The mariner has had the forethought to equip his ship with wind generators and solar panel. Candles and oil lamps provide a warm and cozy feeling while he pulls a book from the ship's library and reads deep into the night.

When the water main breaks in the Land Dweller's city - he knows panic and privation.
The Captain sleeps content in his ship, knowing that he has enough water in his tanks for weeks.

During a crisis - the Land Dweller hopes that he will be able to make it to the store before the shelves are bare.
The old salt of the sea keeps enough provisions and stores aboard to shove off for a voyage of many months - at a moments notice.

I am of the sea - a member of a vibrant and courageous community of sea-faring folk - and I do not understand those Land Dwellers...

copyright 2015 by Kelvin D. Meeks

Nelson Marine Auction March 17th - Tuesday, Alameda, CA

International Boat and Marine Auction Services to conduct an auction of the remaining material and boats left in Nelson Marine, on March 17, 2015 in Alameda, CA

Friday, March 6, 2015

Longing for The Sea...

I am working now on a new client engagement...which should keep me busy for at least the remainder of this year...and perhaps (hopefully)...longer...

But I find myself looking out from my mid-town office, high up on the 10th floor, looking out over the waters of Puget Sound...and I find myself missing the feeling of being at sea.

I have not been on a long voyage for a few years...and I was not missing it, as I was living aboard in the marina, working, and enjoying the life of being on a beautiful coast - in a convenient marina - with my books surrounding me in the small office I leased near the marina.

But tonight, as I prepare to leave the client office (noting the time to myself, of 9pm...), I am aware of the smallest beginning of a swelling of longing that is beginning to make itself known at the edge of my conscious mind...

I long, to once again, commune with the whales and dolphins...while on a long passage...

I long, to once again, drop my anchor in a quiet cove of an island...

I long, to once again, walk the deserted streets of some foreign port city...long after all of the shops and bars have closed...covered by a brilliant canopy of stars...

I long, to once again, see the Milky Way reflected over the vast expanse of the ocean..

I long, to once again, stand midnight watch, waiting for the first glimmer of the sunrise...

I miss the sea...I hear it calling me...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Suguru - a new bit of kit for the sailor's toolbox

"Sugru is mouldable glue. Stick it, shape it and it will turn into rubber"