27 April 2008 Wonderful Sailing

It was the Saturday afternoon before when I decided to get underway. The forecast was just the ticket with mild seas and winds. We gathered a few small things and rose reasonably early (around sunrise) to pull my West Wight Potter 19 S/V Fashas Dream from storage.

We made it to Phillipe Park boat ramp early enough to be the second boat in the parking lot. After about 45 minutes I had her rigged and was backing her down. My first mate held the lines dockside while I parked the suv. When I joined her at the dock she was being chatted up by a nice guy who recognized my boat was a West Wight Potter, lamenting he had owned a 35 footer once, but it was too big.

I fired up the Nissan outboard while we talked. It seemed to take quite a while to get completely warmed up and when I finally started to reduce the choke, she oversped due to excessive gas. I have to figure out whether I’m not doing something right or something is wrong with the engine. She shouldn’t race like crazy when reducing the choke. My method for overcoming this was killing the engine and immediately restarting which alleviated the racing.

Anyway, we cut short the sailing talk and the kindly gentleman with his greyhound helped shove us from the docks pointed out to the bay while I engaged the outboard and we were off. We kept a tight watch on the depth since charts indicate a narrow channel from Phillipe Park ramp to an area below some power lines. We were motoring south nearly dead into the wind.

Winds were light at 5 to 15 knots from the south. Putting up sail went smoothly, but I’m not 100% sure of some of the details with rigging between boom and mast. There is a track stop which I’m not sure belongs above the boom to keep it from sliding up the track and off the mast or if it belongs below the boom stopping it from going too low with the downhaul and another line keeping it downward. I believe the latter is correct. [I’ve since downloaded a 2003 Owners Manual with close up picture that makes it clear. The track stop fits above the mast opening after the mansail is in the track slot to keep it from sliding back thru the track gap. The boom is kept downward with the down haul and another line.]

Pointing into the wind was difficult, but again somehow I felt the rigging wasn’t quite right with the jib halyards, but couldn’t quite figure out the geometry. Fashas Dream has a pulley outboard near the gunwales and a track inboard on the outside wall of the cockpit with a winch nearby. [That night I checked the back of the ancient owner’s manual from International Marine and realized that the jib halyard is intended to lead back to the track pulley (which is further inboard) and then back out to the gunwale to the second pulley and then thru the cam cleat. This would allow a closer haul of the genoa.

The sky was crystal blue with accents of white puffs. We tacked back and forth as I sought more southerly purchase. Running parallel to the western shore brought us further south. We tacked and jibed enjoying the peace and quiet as my mind began to run through the list of things I needed to learn.

In a eureka moment I realized the auto pilot was just the ticket. One of many great features the previous owner included. In less than a minute we had power and human hands were removed from the tiller.

This was extremely fortuitous since my first mate hasn’t gained confidence with the tiller yet. I guess the whole tiller has to be pushed opposite the direction you wish to go throws her off.

After doing my ‘auto has the helm’ victory dance I hooked up my inverter, powered up my speakers and Jimmy Buffett echoed across the bay. A small but delicious sandwich and a few cold drinks (non-alc) followed. Oh, living in luxury. The wind does the heavy lifting, auto does the steering and we just took it all in. I was surprised that Upper Tampa Bay was actually quite nice to look at from the water with heavily tree laden parks and neighborhoods. I took a little time to tie up, organize the lines out of the cockpit.

I also examined closely the lay of the main to better understand the reefing system. Although I understand in principle, I believe I’ll investigate further to make sure I’m not mistaken.

The wind dropped to a whisper and we continued to tack back and forth without making any more southerly progress. It didn’t matter. We were already where we wanted to be and it was a piece of paradise all my own.

My first mate took a closer look at the accommodations and asked that I learn more about the porta potti before we commit to an overnighter where the need may arise. She seemed to like the interior spaces comparing them to a small camper.

As the clock ticked we realized life beyond the water was calling us out. With the wind at our backs I set the whisker pole and we made excellent progress wing on wing in incredibly light breezes between the main and the genoa.

Jockeying around the personal watercraft tied up and unattended blocking all the cleats was probably my biggest annoyance.

All in all a wonderful day, just a bit light in the breezes the second half. That made tearing down a little warm.

With the first mates help tear down went quickly. My only delay was assisting another sailor raise their mast over their very large catamaran. I can’t leave a sailor hanging. They needed help keeping their stays from hanging up while raising the mast.

It didn’t take long to get Fashas Dream back in her spot, covered and settled. What a wonderful day.

27 April 2008 Wonderful Sailing

It was the Saturday afternoon before when I decided to get underway. The forecast was just the ticket with mild seas and winds. We gathered a few small things and rose reasonably early (around sunrise) to pull my West Wight Potter 19 S/V Fashas Dream from storage.

We made it to Phillipe Park boat ramp early enough to be the second boat in the parking lot. After about 45 minutes I had her rigged and was backing her down. My first mate held the lines dockside while I parked the suv. When I joined her at the dock she was being chatted up by a nice guy who recognized my boat was a West Wight Potter, lamenting he had owned a 35 footer once, but it was too big.

I fired up the Nissan outboard while we talked. It seemed to take quite a while to get completely warmed up and when I finally started to reduce the choke, she oversped due to excessive gas. I have to figure out whether I’m not doing something right or something is wrong with the engine. She shouldn’t race like crazy when reducing the choke. My method for overcoming this was killing the engine and immediately restarting which alleviated the racing.

Anyway, we cut short the sailing talk and the kindly gentleman with his greyhound helped shove us from the docks pointed out to the bay while I engaged the outboard and we were off. We kept a tight watch on the depth since charts indicate a narrow channel from Phillipe Park ramp to an area below some power lines. We were motoring south nearly dead into the wind.

Winds were light at 5 to 15 knots from the south. Putting up sail went smoothly, but I’m not 100% sure of some of the details with rigging between boom and mast. There is a track stop which I’m not sure belongs above the boom to keep it from sliding up the track and off the mast or if it belongs below the boom stopping it from going too low with the downhaul and another line keeping it downward. I believe the latter is correct. [I’ve since downloaded a 2003 Owners Manual with close up picture that makes it clear. The track stop fits above the mast opening after the mansail is in the track slot to keep it from sliding back thru the track gap. The boom is kept downward with the down haul and another line.]

Pointing into the wind was difficult, but again somehow I felt the rigging wasn’t quite right with the jib halyards, but couldn’t quite figure out the geometry. Fashas Dream has a pulley outboard near the gunwales and a track inboard on the outside wall of the cockpit with a winch nearby. [That night I checked the back of the ancient owner’s manual from International Marine and realized that the jib halyard is intended to lead back to the track pulley (which is further inboard) and then back out to the gunwale to the second pulley and then thru the cam cleat. This would allow a closer haul of the genoa.

The sky was crystal blue with accents of white puffs. We tacked back and forth as I sought more southerly purchase. Running parallel to the western shore brought us further south. We tacked and jibed enjoying the peace and quiet as my mind began to run through the list of things I needed to learn.

In a eureka moment I realized the auto pilot was just the ticket. One of many great features the previous owner included. In less than a minute we had power and human hands were removed from the tiller.

This was extremely fortuitous since my first mate hasn’t gained confidence with the tiller yet. I guess the whole tiller has to be pushed opposite the direction you wish to go throws her off.

After doing my ‘auto has the helm’ victory dance I hooked up my inverter, powered up my speakers and Jimmy Buffett echoed across the bay. A small but delicious sandwich and a few cold drinks (non-alc) followed. Oh, living in luxury. The wind does the heavy lifting, auto does the steering and we just took it all in. I was surprised that Upper Tampa Bay was actually quite nice to look at from the water with heavily tree laden parks and neighborhoods. I took a little time to tie up, organize the lines out of the cockpit.

I also examined closely the lay of the main to better understand the reefing system. Although I understand in principle, I believe I’ll investigate further to make sure I’m not mistaken.

The wind dropped to a whisper and we continued to tack back and forth without making any more southerly progress. It didn’t matter. We were already where we wanted to be and it was a piece of paradise all my own.

My first mate took a closer look at the accommodations and asked that I learn more about the porta potti before we commit to an overnighter where the need may arise. She seemed to like the interior spaces comparing them to a small camper.

As the clock ticked we realized life beyond the water was calling us out. With the wind at our backs I set the whisker pole and we made excellent progress wing on wing in incredibly light breezes between the main and the genoa.

Jockeying around the personal watercraft tied up and unattended blocking all the cleats was probably my biggest annoyance.

All in all a wonderful day, just a bit light in the breezes the second half. That made tearing down a little warm.

With the first mates help tear down went quickly. My only delay was assisting another sailor raise their mast over their very large catamaran. I can’t leave a sailor hanging. They needed help keeping their stays from hanging up while raising the mast.

It didn’t take long to get Fashas Dream back in her spot, covered and settled. What a wonderful day.

27 April 2008 Wonderful Sailing

It was the Saturday afternoon before when I decided to get underway. The forecast was just the ticket with mild seas and winds. We gathered a few small things and rose reasonably early (around sunrise) to pull my West Wight Potter 19 S/V Fashas Dream from storage.

We made it to Phillipe Park boat ramp early enough to be the second boat in the parking lot. After about 45 minutes I had her rigged and was backing her down. My first mate held the lines dockside while I parked the suv. When I joined her at the dock she was being chatted up by a nice guy who recognized my boat was a West Wight Potter, lamenting he had owned a 35 footer once, but it was too big.

I fired up the Nissan outboard while we talked. It seemed to take quite a while to get completely warmed up and when I finally started to reduce the choke, she oversped due to excessive gas. I have to figure out whether I’m not doing something right or something is wrong with the engine. She shouldn’t race like crazy when reducing the choke. My method for overcoming this was killing the engine and immediately restarting which alleviated the racing.

Anyway, we cut short the sailing talk and the kindly gentleman with his greyhound helped shove us from the docks pointed out to the bay while I engaged the outboard and we were off. We kept a tight watch on the depth since charts indicate a narrow channel from Phillipe Park ramp to an area below some power lines. We were motoring south nearly dead into the wind.

Winds were light at 5 to 15 knots from the south. Putting up sail went smoothly, but I’m not 100% sure of some of the details with rigging between boom and mast. There is a track stop which I’m not sure belongs above the boom to keep it from sliding up the track and off the mast or if it belongs below the boom stopping it from going too low with the downhaul and another line keeping it downward. I believe the latter is correct. [I’ve since downloaded a 2003 Owners Manual with close up picture that makes it clear. The track stop fits above the mast opening after the mansail is in the track slot to keep it from sliding back thru the track gap. The boom is kept downward with the down haul and another line.]

Pointing into the wind was difficult, but again somehow I felt the rigging wasn’t quite right with the jib halyards, but couldn’t quite figure out the geometry. Fashas Dream has a pulley outboard near the gunwales and a track inboard on the outside wall of the cockpit with a winch nearby. [That night I checked the back of the ancient owner’s manual from International Marine and realized that the jib halyard is intended to lead back to the track pulley (which is further inboard) and then back out to the gunwale to the second pulley and then thru the cam cleat. This would allow a closer haul of the genoa.

The sky was crystal blue with accents of white puffs. We tacked back and forth as I sought more southerly purchase. Running parallel to the western shore brought us further south. We tacked and jibed enjoying the peace and quiet as my mind began to run through the list of things I needed to learn.

In a eureka moment I realized the auto pilot was just the ticket. One of many great features the previous owner included. In less than a minute we had power and human hands were removed from the tiller.

This was extremely fortuitous since my first mate hasn’t gained confidence with the tiller yet. I guess the whole tiller has to be pushed opposite the direction you wish to go throws her off.

After doing my ‘auto has the helm’ victory dance I hooked up my inverter, powered up my speakers and Jimmy Buffett echoed across the bay. A small but delicious sandwich and a few cold drinks (non-alc) followed. Oh, living in luxury. The wind does the heavy lifting, auto does the steering and we just took it all in. I was surprised that Upper Tampa Bay was actually quite nice to look at from the water with heavily tree laden parks and neighborhoods. I took a little time to tie up, organize the lines out of the cockpit.

I also examined closely the lay of the main to better understand the reefing system. Although I understand in principle, I believe I’ll investigate further to make sure I’m not mistaken.

The wind dropped to a whisper and we continued to tack back and forth without making any more southerly progress. It didn’t matter. We were already where we wanted to be and it was a piece of paradise all my own.

My first mate took a closer look at the accommodations and asked that I learn more about the porta potti before we commit to an overnighter where the need may arise. She seemed to like the interior spaces comparing them to a small camper.

As the clock ticked we realized life beyond the water was calling us out. With the wind at our backs I set the whisker pole and we made excellent progress wing on wing in incredibly light breezes between the main and the genoa.

Jockeying around the personal watercraft tied up and unattended blocking all the cleats was probably my biggest annoyance.

All in all a wonderful day, just a bit light in the breezes the second half. That made tearing down a little warm.

With the first mates help tear down went quickly. My only delay was assisting another sailor raise their mast over their very large catamaran. I can’t leave a sailor hanging. They needed help keeping their stays from hanging up while raising the mast.

It didn’t take long to get Fashas Dream back in her spot, covered and settled. What a wonderful day.

Ubuntu 7.10 Gutsy Gibbon Review

Ubuntu 7.10 “Gutsy Gibbon” Review

First a rundown on the system. It’s a 1.0 Ghz AMD Duron with a 32 meg Nvidia video card. It’s the same as system #2 from my Ubuntu 6 review. During the load she was connected to my lan, but has a Broadcom based wifi card installed.

I did not attempt to load over a previous version of Ubuntu as in my earlier review.

Following the GUI, loading was smooth and straight forward. I reformatted the entire hard drive for the Linux OS, went through the typical prompts with really no significant differences from Ubuntu 6.

Again the install went smoothly with a status bar ticking off progress. All the same prompts occurred with little change from previous versions. It’s nice to see they aren’t messing with this success.

Of course, you’re prompted to define a userid and password like every other linux build I’ve tried.

Log in and there you have it. The dulcet tones of the system start up with the earth toned backdrop.

No differences yet.

Whoa! What’s this? There is a new tool that pop’s up prompting ‘proprietary’ drivers needed. Fantastic! It spots both my Nvidia video card and my Broadcom based Wifi card. With my active lan connection the drivers were automatically downloaded and installed.

The video card driver allowed different resolutions but the defaults were fine.

The wifi driver loaded with no problems and showed as an option with the network connections. Wifi manager was already a part of my Ubuntu install under network connections. These few features made a huge difference in my install experience. Big kudos to Ubuntu developers on this.

Past: I would have found and downloaded WiFi Manager and the Broadcom drivers manually or via Synaptic.

Of course, I strongly recommend you update your entire configuration with Update Manager before disconnecting from the Lan. Since I was late in the 7.10 cycle (8 was to be announced within a week of this load) the updates were very long.

After completing all the updates, I configured the wifi and disco’d the lan. Everything “Just worked”, which is a far cry from recent Vista experiences.

The WiFi signal indicators never seemed to indicate more than 60% when other devices [Blackberry phone and Vista laptop] indicated minimum 80%. Signal throughput does seem to be slower with equivalent page refreshes between comparable systems using different OS. Whether it’s the nature of Wifi Manager on Linux or added overhead with the proprietary driver or some other bandwidth hog I can’t say.

Pros: Ubuntu is sticking with what works and contnues to refine things for improvement. It’s a perfectly viable alternative to MS. Huge improvement with the proprietary driver detection and downloads and integrated Wifi Manager into the network connections.

Cons: The same con as for all Linux OS. 1) A Quicken financial management program equivalent. Something that will allow for daily downloads of financials (banking, trading, etc.). Taxation software would also be nice, but I understand they are moving to web portals that may be OS independent. 2) Other platform game compatibility whether Apple or PC. Available in limited fashion and not 100%. 3) Wifi manager seems to be slower than equivalent MS wifi configurations.

Final Word: Ubuntu is a definite contender and in my mind the strongest Linux contender to date. I love Ubuntu. But for the cons, it would be my primary platform.

My First Sail on “Fasha’s Dream”

5 Apr 2008


The weekend had been set aside to allow me all the possible time I could handle underway.

Agenda items:

Raise sails as much as I felt comfortable with. Genoa or main.

Gain more familiarity with everything aboard.

As much time as possible underway.

Forecasts predicted a strong front with high winds and rain rolling in on Saturday afternoon and escalating to thunderstorms through Sunday.

That meant any underway time I wanted would have to be first thing on Saturday. So there was the plan. Get underway as early as possible on Lake Tarpon, put up sails, get comfortable and head back in before the front rolls in. Expected arrival for the front was noon to 5 pm.

I was able to enlist the support of an intrepid soul as a first mate. I was completely forthcoming about my lack of experience. She was eager for new experiences so she agreed to meet me early Saturday at John Chestnut Park boat ramp.

I kept my eye on the forecast in hopes it would suddenly be all sunshine and bluebirds, but no such luck. I reviewed the West Wight Potter 19 rigging information and ran through the mental preparation checklists. Then Saturday morning arrived.

By around 8 am I retrieved her from storage and rigged her mostly solo, with minor hiccups here and there from lack of experience. The biggest challenge was ensuring the stays and lines were cleared while raising the mast. A simple twist in a stay or line gets in the way of pinning the forestay (also the roller furling rig). The boom and main went in easily enough.

I bemoaned the dirt lot where my boat is stored. After all rigging was done, she was totally tracked up with footprints from my deck shoes.

Winds were from the South at 10-15 kts with little chop. Skies were overcast, but no threat of rain, yet. With my trusty crew aboard, we departed through the calm channel and in no time passed the bass fishers in the shallows and had the genoa unfurled.

After a minute or two of fudging around I was able to raise the motor. I have to remember to push down first then pull up on the black knobs. Another lesson to remember.

We were moving at a really nice clip under only the Genoa. It was an incredibly relaxing experience idling along, no noise, snacking as we went, basking in the shade of the bimini. My crew treated me to hand fed fruit slices and sweet beverages (non-alcoholic of course). For a couple of single parents with stressful jobs that are flanked by children whose biggest thrill is marathon WOW’ing out on a PC indoors, this was an incredibly welcomed break away.

Eventually we reached the northern end of our trek and began heading south, attempting to close haul under the genoa. We went back and forth a number of times. Yes, we were making headway, only it was arduously slow. We joked that progress was probably 100 feet for every complete circuit of tack. That would put us back at the ramp around Thursday.

So, I had the inspiration to switch to the main. After all, I had gained a lot of confidence under the genoa. Why not? It’s all an adventure anyway, right?

Furling the genoa, I scrambled through the tiny openings of the bimini to reach the mast and send the main up. My poor crew was left on the tiller attempting to keep us luffed long enough for me to finish hoisting. [Yes, I am looking up sailing terms as I write this.] This was a little more challenging than I anticipated. Note to self: skip the bimini while learning.

A little finagling and the main is raised and in no time we’re making progress. During it’s flopping around on the way up I lost a stay.

Up to this point we had been heeling a maximum of 3 degrees or so. We could see the chop increase when under sail. What was a lake filled with dimples earlier was becoming ever covered with white caps.

On our second leg with the main while maintaining a steady heading the wind seemed to gust from a totally different perspective, the boat abruptly heeled another five degrees and the sharp change in attitude startled mes. I did a quick check to confirm the solid steel dagger board/ballast was all the way down (comfort from capsizing) and let loose the tiller and released the main some. We fell off into a much more conservative position but were making no headway.

Realizing this was likely the leading edge of the impending front, I called on a more conservative posture. I dropped and started the outboard and put it in gear. Again my poor crew was abandoned on the tiller to keep us in irons while I scrambled to the mast through the small opening of the bimini to pull in the main. Making that squeeze required the skill and size of a spider monkey which I outweigh by at least 170 pounds. Lacking one of those I made the scramble awkwardly.

Once the main was secured, I dropped back in the cockpit and we headed directly into the wind and chop. No matter what speed we went, it was a wet ride. I attempted adjusting our position relative to the chop so my stalwart crew would suffer less shower time, but alas she couldn’t hide the onslaught of spray.

We couldn’t help but laugh at the adventure. By the time we reached the channel we were both soaked. In fact, I only remember one instance the entire time that we weren’t smiling and basking in the experience. But knowing things won’t always be perfect is half of the thrill.

After reading challenges with West Wight Potter 19’s and the Pacific Baja trailers, I was especially careful to ensure “Fasha’s Dream” was centered between the trailer wheel wells. No way did I want my bottom paint to be scored by the inside edges of the tires.

Dropping rigging was a breeze made even easier by my eager crews desire to witness and experience it all.

All in all, it was a successful sail. I actually sailed with no major issues, albeit under only one sail at a time. I rigged her for the most part alone. No challenges motoring.

For the future:
1 – Learn and master the reefing of the main, especially underway.
2 – Sail with the main primarily. The genoa is so easy with the roller furling I got lazy.
3 – Master maneuvering around the bimini or don’t use it.
4 – Think ahead to prevent tracking up the decks. Use a welcome mat or change shoes.

Underway but not sailing 20 March 2008

I had the boat for almost a week and decided the day before Good Friday was going to be underway.

Oh yeh, my vessel is currently nameless. I’m debating different names and probably thinking about it too much.

My adventurous daughter was visiting for her spring break and was looking for some time in the Florida sun.

Untarping took little time at all with rolling it up. After doing a once over to ensure everything was secure, we headed out quickly.

I pulled into John Chestnut Park’s boat ramp on Lake Tarpon. Excellent space and ramp facilities. It’s convenient location was perfect for my first time, plus with wind conditions 15 to 25 knots, I felt it would be a safe bet for a preliminary session.

What was my goal? Basic launch, preliminary rigging, motoring for a while and no sails. I know that my skill with a brand new boat will take time to develop and the winds were high and the lake choppy.

Rigging was slow, but expected for the first time. Mast raising uses a second winch with nylon strap strung thru a roller at the top of a long 2×4 inserted in the upright opening on the tongue of the trailer. The free end has a hook attached to the mast sheet. I was hesitant on this with concerns for a twist. It did cause a mild pull to offcenter, but concerns for a mast twist were unfounded.

It took around an hour and I had mast, boom, rudder, roller furling and outboard in proper position and was ready to back into launch. Another 15 minutes and the boat was in the water, tied to a dock with my suv parked.

Once the outboard was started (with the choke on) it took longer to warm up than I expected. I confirmed forward and reverse worked and then let her loose. Unfortunately I misjudged and the lines were let loose before I had things under control. Wind up the channel began to force me into the ramp, so I accelerated into reverse and I began to twist sideways. The chaos continued for another two to three panicked minutes, with my accelerating forward or backward wildly trying to get my bearings with the tiller, avoiding the docks, attempting to head into the wind under throttle until finally I was making forward progress head into the wind.

From that point progress was incremental. I gradually lowered the dagger board not knowing it’s depth. It definitely improved tracking. At one point with the dagger board lowered only a foot and a half motoring direct into the wind we got some splash up the daggerboard trunk. Lowering it took care of that.

It was obvious once we cleared the channel that the winds were too high for my skill. So we motored north enjoying the wind and waves and occasional splash over the focs’l. The return leg had the wind at our backs and we made the channel in excellent condition. With my daughter on the forward line and myself on the stern line we pulled dockside in excellent position with no bangs, scares or panic.

All in all, I met my goals, modest as they were. Hopefully in the near future the winds will be cooperative and I can get underway again for more progress with more modest breezes. I don’t know if my daughter met her goals since the winds were up, the temperatures were down and it wasn’t very tropical.

Pull out was so much easier. Familiarity was obviously a big part of it.

I did have minor hitches.

A combination lock on the outboard screw mounts had become incredibly wedged against the lowering mechanism. I fudged with it for nearly a half hour when I finally agreed to let my intrepid daughter give it a shot. Embarrassingly enough she had it loose in less than five minutes. Grumbling something about big fingers, I was able to raise the outboard for towing in no time.

The return tow to storage, tarp covering and departure went smoothly.

Lessons learned:

1 – Don’t use a lock on the outboard mounting screws. Previous owner had a rope tied through them to prevent them from working loose. Gotta remount the rope.

2 – When lowering the mast, the companionway hatch has to be in the fully closed position. One of the lower fittings on the mast grinds into the hatch if its all the way forward.

3 – Pay close attention to the wind conditions. Even with no sails the winds can be a problem.

Post Purchase

In preparation for the arrival of my new vessel, I had to go through the typical hoop jumping of any new boat owner.

Insurance for boating and towing, financing, and most importantly a place to keep it.

Insurance and financing are individual items that are so totally unique to every person, I won’t go into that.

However, where to keep your boat is a common issue.

The West Wight Potter 19 can be stored in a large garage if it has a folding tongue or an exceptionally long garage. Even though I’m an apartment dweller, I do have a garage. However, it’s not that spacious.

Since I don’t have a yard I’m left with either marina or storage. Storage won out hands down. Marina berth’s are incredibly expensive and you still have to store the trailer itself somewhere. On top of that it kills the purpose of having a trailer able vessel you can travel with when you have to first pull the boat out. Plus, sitting in salt water builds up gunk on the hull and rusts the daggerboard.

The other option (since I’m a military reservist) is in a local bases Morale Welfare and Recreation storage lot, but no spaces are available, yet.

So, I found a storage area nearby that wouldn’t break the bank. Unfortunately they don’t have covered spots and they have trees and a dirt lot.

What’s that mean? I need to cover my baby.

And since this was spring pollen season the need was immediate. The last thing I needed were leaves and pollen stains ruining the excellent finish of my boat.

Two large tarps and lots of white parachute cord along with the aid of my able bodied kung fu kid and we were able to cover it to the gunwales for nearly the entire length of the boat.

They were already in my hurricane kit so the price was right. Lowe’s has very large tarps which could save you the hassle of stringing two together like I did. I would bet they are more durable than mine. Make sure you get it big enough to go over the main mast resting in the yoke and reach the gunwales on both sides.

Some cover notes: I do not recommend using bungie cords because they maintain a constant pulling pressure on the tarps. Tarps aren’t great for handling constant stress and the sun adds to its deterioration. Use some form of non-elastic tie downs like parachute cord or straps. If your tarp has grommets or you can add some, makes sure they don’t rust against your hull or it will stain.

The other option is to buy the West Wight Potter 19 cover from International Marine. My last check showed the cost at $850. I decided this was too pricey than I wanted for now. Comparative pricing I could buy covers large enough ten times over and still have money to spare.

Since I’m in Florida, hurricanes can be a concern. I intend to investigate trailer and boat tie down options before the season.

Sailboat Prelude and Purchase

Prelude and Purchase

I’ve been enthralled with sailing since high school, when my father arranged a week long charter in the B.V.I.’s.

As life has progressed for the past thirty years I’ve whetted my appetite mostly by day dreaming and living vicariously through others, pouring over plans, occasional day sails, and more recently, joining sail clubs.

As in all things, a change of life circumstance created new opportunities. Like pregnancy, there is no such thing as the perfect time and I decided to jump in and buy my own sail boat.

All the daydreaming helped me formulate a baseline of what I wanted. Still employed, I didn’t need a deep water cruiser, though I did want something that could accommodate two for a number of days. I wanted to trailer it, for storage and mobility. It had to be light enough for my current vehicle (a 2007 Mercury Mariner) to handle. A large volume production base to draw on the experiences of others, accessories and support. A still functioning manufacturer is a plus. Buying it used to save myself the depreciation was another point.

Which got me to the MAC26 (X or M) or West Wight Potter 19.

I finally went with a West Wight Potter 19. Why? Size for ease of storage (7 feet shorter overall). They were less expensive ($6k to 8K for the same model year). Cost of outboards were less expensive (max 5 HP vs 50 HP).

Through constant hunting, I found a WWP19 before it went on the market through members of the West Coast Trailer Sailor Squadron. The previous skipper of the “Minnow” referred me to the skipper of the “Red Tag”. I have to say that from the pictures I saw and the information I was incredibly excited.

A long road trip and only an hour and a half on scene and I committed to purchasing the “Red Tag”. A week later I drove back and took possession of “Red Tag”.

“Red Tag” is a West Wight Potter 19 Premier with a 5HP and Pacific “Baja” trailer. It has a roller furling jib, depth sounder, vhf radio, two gel cell deep discharge 12v batteries, integrated 10 amp battery charger, and a unique hull color that looks blue from a distance and a very dark forest green when close. That only scratched the surface, but was more than enough to convince me.

Everything was in excellent shape and I couldn’t have asked for a better turn key purchase.

Dave was “Red Tag’s” owner and gave me the inside track on how to arrange an AC unit, the basic operation of things to keep in mind, key things that can make life easier for prolonged cruising, along with a healthy encouragement to join the West Coast Trailer Sailer Squadron. He handed me original documentation, instructions, and even a small solar panel for trickle charge of batteries.

In no time I was on I-75 traveling home with the foundation of a dream that’s been percolating for over thirty years. I couldn’t help but glance back in the mirror, think of all the things I needed to do and daydream a bit about where to go.

By that evening I had her nicely nestled into her storage spot. Then I realized she was under trees.

Financial Recovery for Me

As a recently single person I’ve established complete control over my budget. In the past I always compromised based on whatever was going on in a marriage or it’s fallout. Now that I look back at a cumulative total of nearly eighteen years of marriage I realize I’ve blown MILLION$$ on nonsense.

Some spent on “therapeutic” vacations meant to mend a troubled relationship. A lot spent litigating over important things and sometimes over nothing at all. The rest on homes over sized for the balance between our life goals and our budget.

Coming out of this last marriage, I developed a budget and a financial plan. I felt validated when I listened to Dave Ramsey’s “Total Money Makeover”. Much of what he recommends I had already integrated in my plan, however key elements for his order of priority and focus made excellent sense for me to refine and improve my plan. It’s not a get rich quick scheme. It’s a definitive get rich plan if you follow it and live it.

I won’t cover it in detail since there is so much out there as far in reviews and critiques.

I will say that I personally HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book for anyone and everyone. I bought the CD’s and listened to them several times, taking notes with a different focus each time.

We ALL use and need money. For something so important to all of our lives we do ourselves harm when we don’t take the time to learn. At the very least check it out at a local library.