Oof - Breaking Free is Hard.

Sometimes I have to re-read my “I Really Don't Give A …” manifesto just to keep doing what I do. Some people may suppose that I have some kind of tenacity to still be working on this project after all this time. The truth is that I am a bit too stubborn, but mostly too dumb to quit at this point. And yet some days are not so easy.

When I started this journey I came up with a slogan. It began a bit of a joke, but solidified into the underlying philosophy of my vagabond life.

“Eat When You’re Hungry.
Work When You’re Broke.”

I haven’t fully escaped on a boat yet, so the slogan hasn’t been fully implemented. It has, however, guided my life. Even now, where I thought I was going, and where I wanted to be are subject to changes wrought by this guiding philosophy. After months of wrangling at one job and ultimately switching jobs just to get to a part time schedule, last week I negotiated to become less part time already. My vagabond philosophy turned me around and changed what I thoug…

Oriental to Charleston, Part II

This is Part Two of the Carolina Trip. Part One is here.

When we last left our heroes, they were having an epic dinner aboard Aletheia lying at anchor at Wrightsville Beach.

Both the captain and I really wanted to do some offshore sailing and yet among our many compatible aspects -- we are both fairly conservative sailors. Neither of us would make the jump offshore in adverse conditions just to say we had done it. In addition, though we spent the night right at the Masonboro Inlet, the Frying Pan Shoals extended well out into the Atlantic between us and Charleston. We would have had to sail fairly far offshore before we could turn to the southwest and make for our destination. In fact, many sailors traversing the East Coast will come inside between Masonboro and Cape Fear just to avoid having to go out and around those shoals.

As keen as we both were, it didn’t make a lot of sense for us to go offshore from Wrightsville. We
hatched a plan to run inside down to the Cape Fear River in…

Oriental to Charleston, Part I

Note: This is Part One of Two Parts. Part Two is here.

I was crewing on a delivery of a Westsail 42 down the East Coast when I met Wade. He had crewed on the famous W42, Fiona, and was keen to join us for a time. The boat wasn’t departing for a couple days and he was spending some time in the city, but he stopped by with a Charleston friend at the City Marina to introduce himself. Wade is a very interesting guy. We became fast friends between Charleston and Melbourne, FL, where the trip ended prematurely.

In the time since that voyage, Wade had purchased Aletheia, a 36 foot Allied Princess that was converted to a junk rig and repowered with an electric drive. He had found her in St. Petersburg, FL and subsequently moved her to Oriental, NC. I was busy on the road saving money for my own boat project and could not help during that move. However, as Wade prepared to move Aletheia from Oriental down to Charleston, he asked if I could help. I happened to be changing jobs and it worked ou…

Gratitude with the Stars and Moon

Note: Many of you know that I recently spent some time in the Carolinas helping a friend move his boat.  I am working on a full report of this epic trip. In the meantime, here is a reflection on life in the boatyard. 

Gratitude runs in surplus aboard sv Emma. Even as I lay a bit low this week, not wanting to spend much money for I have a bill of some unknown heft coming from the marina. Still, I sleep every night under Emma’s forward hatch. The stars peak from behind clouds in a nightly game of hide and seek with the moon. The summer heat and humidity have not yet come and each night a soft, cool seabreeze caresses my cheek. It is lovely. It is relaxing in a way that I cannot begin to describe. 
One of my favorite things is to leave the hatch open even as rain is due to approach overnight. I can’t remember a single instance of an abrupt downpour soaking me. Little, shy drops of rain, who seem embarassed to have to wake me, will drop one by one ahead of the storm. It only takes a few…


They parked a nice looking Westsail 32 right next to Emma and me last week. Today a marine surveyor showed up to do an inspection for the new owner's insurance.

“I don’t know if they set it right there to inspire me or to taunt me,” I said.

“Well, yes, she’s a pretty boat,” he replied, “She’s a Westsail 32.”

“Yeah,” I smiled, gesturing toward Emma, “ … same hull.”

“Oh my goodness! Would you look at that.”

Emma was neglected enough that I could afford her and lately I've been sanding 3 or 4 mysterious
layers of paint off her hull. I don’t blame him for not recognizing her. He went on to tell me what a solid ocean-capable design I had - very rugged boats he said. I explained that I had found her in Miami with no engine and brought her here because I knew the marina and the people who ran it.

“How did you get her up here,” he asked.

“We sailed her -- about 120 miles; overnight. It was a glorious sail.”

“With no engine! Gosh, that’s brave,” he exclaimed, “You’ve got to have a ce…

The venerable Perkins 4.108

Frank Perkins and Charles Chapman were working on a high speed, lightweight diesel engine at Aveling and Porter, a British agricultural engine and steamroller manufacturer when the company went out of business. The two engineers were convinced of the potential for diesel engines - a new technology in the early 1930s -- and started F. Perkins Limited in June 1932. The company became Perkins Engine Company Limited, is still producing diesel engines today and is now a subsidiary of Caterpillar.

After World War II, Perkins found they needed to make smaller engines to fit the smaller post-war cars of Great Britain. They successfully began a period of development and technical advancements in the 1950s that led to their engines running a variety of cars and delivery vans; even an Alfa Romeo. The venerable 4.108 engine came along in the latter part of that decade and found success in the agricultural equipment sector. At one point, a 4.108 was installed in a VW Transporter leading to a thre…

Positive Friction

My former self would just not understand. I used to be a Live Music Addict. My life was coordinated for maximum enjoyment of watching good people play good music. Many times, my pursuit of that rush of watching music made came at the expense of most everything else in my life -- budget, health, etc. I don’t regret any of it; it was almost always fantastic.

I had a ticket to see Donna the Buffalo last Friday night but decided not to go. DtB is on my see-before-you-die list, but I chose to go to bed early in order to get up Saturday morning and get back to my boatwork. My former self would be pissed.

The money I spent on the ticket was long gone; didn’t matter. I actually bought it months ago when the show was first announced (It was a band on my list playing just 45 minutes away). Yet, I had work to do and decided to keep at it. Surely, I didn’t need to spend more money on drinks and food at the venue.

Boatwork on Saturday was a little frustrating as I knew it would be. Part of my mot…