Monthly Archives: June 2017

Two Days of Perfect Wind

It’s been a bit over 24 hours since we left Hampton, VA, on Thursday morning and we have covered about half of the 350 miles toward home at a speed of just under 7kts.  That’s not bad given the fact that we ran the engine until noon yesterday and for much of the rest of the time we have been dead downwind with only the mainsail up to move us along.

The jib doesn’t work well when the wind is directly behind us as the boom tends to slam around in the lee of the main.  I need to talk to the designer or perhaps a rigger to see what we can rig up to keep the jib boom under control.  Of course, one option would be a whisker pole but I don’t particularly like the idea of having to go forward when things get dicey to pull it in.   Having the jib poled out would speed us up a bit but perhaps we are fast enough anyway.  I generally don’t find myself motor sailing much to keep our speed up so perhaps that’s the answer.

The wind has been  directly astern and running in the high teens and now low 20s.  That sounds like a lot of wind but as we are now moving dead down wind at about 8kts, the apparent wind is not bad at all.  Pandora tracks very well under these conditions in spite of waves that are in the 6-8′ range and the autopilot handles it just fine.   I am happy to report that the pilot is behaving well as the “crazy Ivan” problem that we had when the plotter failed seems have been resolved now that the new plotter is in place.

I don’t know when we are likely to round Montauk, at the eastern tip of Long Island but It’s probably going to be around 03:00 tomorrow.  It might even be sooner by a few hours as the wind is supposed to freshen to the mid 20s with gusts around 30, again from the same direction, so our speed will probably be in the 8kt range for much of the trip going forward.

As I think about some sort of pole to hold the jib out, I can’t help but imagine having to pull it in and stow it in 8′ seas and gusts to 30kts.  That doesn’t sound like fun to me.

Yesterday, just before dark, we were visited by a large pod of dolphins, perhaps 30 or so.  They darted around Pandora for about a half hour before vanishing as quickly as they arrived.  The pod was made up of adults and juveniles with some that were quite small swimming along with their mothers.  As you’d expect, it was mostly the “kids” that leapt high into the air as the raced back and forth down the side of Pandora.  My crew, Jim and Charlie were as thrilled as I was to enjoy the spectacle.   And, try as I might, I just couldn’t seem to capture any of them doing acrobatics, the dolphins, not Charlie or Jim, of course.

As we rounded the tip of the DE/MD peninsula to make our way north yesterday we hugged the coastline much of the way and in spite of being about 10-12 miles off the coastline, I had cell coverage until late afternoon.  I wasn’t expecting that as in past years it’s been rare to have coverage that far out.  Oddly, in the Caribbean coverage generally extended up to 15 miles from shore, probably because the towers are so high up on the mountains.  Of course, the coastline of the U.S. is a lot less mountainous so you’d expect the signal to not go out as far.  However, in spite of that, it seems like it’s better than in past years.  Perhaps the technology has improved.  Oddly though, coverage at our home is still terrible, even with a booster installed in the attic.  Go figure.

Anyway, we are having a great sail with steady winds pushing us along our way.  At this point, we expect to carry favorable and plenty strong winds all the way into Long Island Sound.   It’s hard to say if we will make it there soon enough to catch the last of the flood tide that ends tomorrow morning at 04:30 or if we will have to buck the strong ebb all the way once we round Montauk.

For now, we are enjoying what will likely be two days of near perfect sailing as we make our way the 350 miles from Hampton home.
My plan is to take Pandora directly to Deep River, up the CT River and have her hauled for at least 6 weeks so I’ll have time to get some projects completed after a long winter of wear and tear and some 4,000 mile of sailing.   I may do some short trips with Brenda over to Long Island and perhaps Newport with friends but that assumes that I get the guest bathroom remodeled.  Not sure how that’s going to be finished as soon as I’d like as it’s nearly July and I haven’t done much in that department.  Oh well, I’d better get cracking.

I guess that’s it for now.  Sorry, not pictures as my SSB modem is just too slow to send large files over the SSB radio when I am outside of cell range.  My routine is to send the text to Brenda who will post it.
Until Saturday

Underway!  Destination Essex.

It’s Thursday morning and we were underway by 05:30.  After waiting two days in Hampton, the winds are now from the SW so we won’t be motoring into the wind.   Unfortunately, the winds, albeit from a favorable direction, are too light to sail but they are supposed to increase to around 20kts later today and should hold for much of our trip.

If things go well, I expect that we will be in Essex as of Saturday afternoon.  I am hopeful that we will be in by late afternoon as the tide will turn against us in the race and river at about 16:30 which will slow us down a lot.

However, for the moment seas are very calm and we are motor sailing, mostly motoring, along at a reasonable clip, although slower than normal as the bottom is a bit slimy after sitting in the marina for 5 weeks in Hampton.

As we headed out this morning, we had a wonderful sunrise. We also passed a warship heading into the harbor. She was flanked with four patrol boats complete with blue flashing lights warning us to keep our distance, which we did.I forgot to mention that when we arrived in Hampton I was greeted by a dead fridge and freezer.  The pump that supplies cooling water to the compressor had failed and the unit had shut down.  With the cabin all sealed up and in the 90s, the freezer and fridge soon were that hot too.  With them all buttoned up things got nasty pretty fast and when I opened them up I was greeted by,… Well, let’s just say it was a seething mass of flying insects and maggots.   Brenda would have just loved it.  Sorry, no pictures.  I do have my limits.  “Thank goodness Bob.”

Happily, If I can use “happily” so close to “maggot”, I had a spare water pump which I installed.  Let me just say that it took a while to clean everything up but now the fridge is again working fine even if it remains a bit, shall we say, aromatic.

I’ll sort through that when I get home.  Yum…

I guess that’s all for now but I expect to post again in the morning and again when we round Montauk on Saturday.

Until then, don’t forget to check out “where in the world is Pandora” as I’ll be posting our position every two hours for the duration of the trip.

On our way home on Thursday.

It’s Wednesday morning and I am here in Hampton VA aboard Pandora, preparing for our last 350 mile run home.   It looks like we are going to have a good run as there will be brisk SW winds that will carry us the whole way to Essex.  We arrived on Monday evening after a terrific visit with our son Rob and his family.   Yes, we could leave today but the winds were out of the east and right on our nose leaving Hampton and then no wind for much of the overnight hours so we’ll wait another day.

I haven’t worked out the speed assumptions in detail but I expect that with a foul tide and wind verses solid winds behind us our actual arrival time won’t be much different so a Thursday first light departure it is.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot that EVERYONE is pining for a current picture of our granddaughter Tori, so here goes.  Yes, yes, I know…. She’s so cute that it hurts.   “Bob, Bob, did you take that photo?”  I did, thank you.

Ok, I got that out of the way so now I’ll talk a bit about water in fuel.  Nice segue, right?  Recall that when I was running from Tortola north last month, I switched fuel tanks about 500 miles from shore, and discovered that I had picked up some water along with fuel, I think, in NC.   Well, what a mess.   I had the three fuel tanks cleaned and he found several gallons of water in the offending tank and a little bit in one of the two others.  His rig for filtering the tanks was pretty neat but it did look like quite the Rube Goldberg contraption.   For those of you who are too young to know who Rube Goldberg is, here’s a link to the Official Rube Goldberg society website.  So, the hoses ran down into the cabin and into the fuel tanks via an access port. A powerful pump sucked fuel out of the tank, through a filer and squirted it back into the tank, stirring up any water and sediment that might have collected.   What the heck, go ahead and trash the cabin.  Everybody else does.So, some 6+ hours later, three clean fuel tanks.  Wasn’t that easy?

And, remember the failed chart plotter?  Well, I put in the “new” one that I purchased from a local electronics dealer.  It’s in too but, wouldn’t you know it, the “new” plotter is running on an older version of the software verses my “old” one so the network won’t communicate.  The fix will be simple when I get home but I’m not home. However, we were able to put in a sort of “work around” so I can get most of the information I need between the two plotters.

As I mentioned, we are sticking around Hampton for two days prior to heading out which isn’t so bad as it’s a nice little city.  Yesterday we visited the Air and Space Museum and if you haven’t been there, it’s worth a visit.  I did a post about the museum when we did our first trip south in 2012.

Pandora is in a slip in Blue Water Yachting Center is an excellent facility and the dockmaster Dave is a very nice guy.  He has worked with the Salty Dawg Sailing Association, the folks that do the Salty Dawg Rally to Tortola each November, and offers a very nicely discounted rate for dockage, if you stay a month.   The amount you save for a month here will more than pay for the SDSA membership.

There is a very nice waterfront restaurant and they even have pool.   And, shocker that it is, they actually have terrific WIFI at each slip.  I am on one of the furthest out slips and it comes through full strength.   I say shocker as most marinas boast wifi but it’s terrible.  Good job Dave.  Very nice facility and it’s a short walk to a grocery store. Huge long fuel dock. This morning a lovely crabbing boat.  I think that these are called Chesapeake Deadrise boats.   And Hampton University in the background.Along my walk earlier today I spied this little cottage with great gardens.  Clearly, the owner doesn’t spend much time on the water given the extensive gardens that surely need daily attention. So, here we are spending yet another lovely day in Hampton.  Perhaps we can carve out some time to visit the local brew pub on the waterfront.  Yes, I suppose we will as the marina runs a water taxi over to the the town pier where the pub is located.  Besides, it would almost be sinful not to spread some “green” around town before we depart.  Right?

Oh yeah, don’t forget to follow our progress on “where in the world is Pandora” on this homepage.  Unless it’s terribly “sporty” I expect to post each day as we make our way north.

Keep those cards and letters coming.  Oops, time for lunch, well almost but it’s good to think ahead.

Did I mention that our granddaughter Tori is just so cute?

Pandora’s final leg home

It’s Saturday morning and I am here in MD visiting our son Rob and his family.  Did I mention that we have a granddaughter?  “Yes Bob, we know she’s completely and so totally cute and very intelligent.”  So pleased that you have all been paying attention.

Anyway, we’re here for a few days and then I head to Hampton VA to meet up with crew to prepare for our run home.  When I arrive Pandora will be hauled for much of the remainder of the summer.  It’s not hard to find a spot for her in the yard as everybody else is in the water enjoying the summer weather.  I’ll confess that I get quizzical looks from many folks as Pandora comes OUT of the water but those looks quickly turn to something entirely different once they learn about where we’ve been and what’s on the horizon next winter, wherever Pandora takes us.

Oh yeah, I should update you on the boom vang and water in the fuel tanks.   As you recall, the vang failed about a day outside of Hampton and it’s now fixed.   It needed to have the seals rebuilt and also had developed a leak that let the 500lbs of nitrogen leak out.  Nope, I didn’t realize that vangs had nitrogen in them either.  Now I do.

The fuel tanks have been cleaned too and I was told that there was about a gallon of water in one tank but now it’s gone.  Wasn’t that easy?  No word as to whether it was salt or fresh.  I did replace the O rings on all deck plates and they looked fine so I am guessing that I picked up water somewhere when I took on fuel, I think prior to departure in NC last winter.  I am certain that the fuel I got in St Martin, on the Dutch side (remember, eat on the French side, and shop on the Dutch side) was fine.

Oh yeah, I also have a, sort of, new chart plotter to replace the one that crapped out a day outside of Tortola.  I couldn’t get it repaired as Raymarine no longer supports the unit.  Fortunately, I was able to fine a nearly new unit that came off of a boat that was upgrading it’s entire electronics suite.  I am hopeful that it will be a simple “plug and play” when I install it.  And, all of that is just what “broke” on my way north.  We won’t talk about the AIS, windlass, sail repairs and SSB “issues” that cropped up over the winter.  I guess that’s what “miniyaching” is all about, right?  You know the whole “cruising is boat repair in exotic places” thing. I can only imagine what sorts of things break aboard the big guys.

And speaking of the the megayacts and the Caribbean, I found this great video of Ranger, one of the classic J yachts that we saw in Antigua.  It’s a sales video, filmed in Antigua, gives a pretty thorough tour of the yacht.   It is notoriously difficult to get down below tours of these vessels so it’s always a treat when one comes on the market and she’s “open” for viewing.  She’s a beauty, that’s for sure.And, speaking of the big Js, 6 of them competed in Bermuda recently and plan to race together regularly going forward.  This video is an impressive view of them when they recently connected for racing in Bermuda.I hope to see these remarkable yachts in Newport later in the summer when a record of 7 are expected to compete. Bermuda drew 6 of them for competition, including the newest member of the family SVEA, just launched at Vitters in the Netherlands in May.

My friend Rodney is about to close on the purchase of an MJM powerboat so perhaps I can twist his arm to bring her up to Newport.  A boat that’s capable of 28kts will surely be able to keep up with the action way better than Pandora.  I think this link is the design that he’s getting.  It’s clear to me that that this would be  a “proper” platform for viewing a classic J regatta.  Right?  Rodney? Are you listening?  Get out your calendar.  I’ll bring the rum, imported from the exotic Caribbean, of course. I promise.

In the mean time, I am looking forward to the final leg of my 2016-17 season and our final leg back home with Pandora.


Where’s the best place to be if you’re super?

It’s Wednesday morning and only a few days until cruisers from all over arrive in Essex for the 5th annual Seven Seas Cruising Association (SSCA) Summer Solstice Gam.   George and I have been running this event for five years now and we are very excited about what’s in store for the nearly 100 that will show up for two plus days of seminars and great food.  We have an excellent lineup of speakers, perhaps our best yet.

In particular, I can’t wait to hear the keynote talk by Mike Toglias, the author of Finest Hours, the story of the rescue of the SS Pendelton off of Cape Cod in 1952. A rescue by the USCG widely recognized as the most heroic in the history of the service.  Mike will share the story of the rescue and the making of the movie of the same name by Disney a few years ago.  As a rule, “sailing” movies are generally terrible, think Waterworld, Wind and perhaps the worst ever All is lost with Robert Redford, but don’t get me started.

Anyway, Finest Hours is quite a good movie.  Check out this extended 3 1/2 minute trailer. And see the movie if you haven’t.  It’s on Net Flix and other streaming services.

We’ll be holding the event at the Essex Yacht Club beginning with a BYOB cocktail party aboard Gem a “large” catamaran that will be visiting for the weekend.  The owners of Gem did a similar trip south last winter to the Caribbean as me and Brenda.

Following two days of seminars we will finish up with a pot luck pizza party at the nearby CT River Museum on their deck.  That’s a fabulous place to watch the evening light on the river.   On the off chance that you are moved to join in the fun we have a few slots left so just show up on Friday evening at the club or on Saturday morning to sign up.

While we are partying in Essex with our cruising buddies, it seems that the “big boys with their super big toys” are whooping it up in Bermuda as the finals for the America’s Cup are underway and yesterday was the first of three days of superyacht racing.

When Brenda and I were in Antigua over the winter we were surrounded by a seemingly endless number of monster sailing yachts, many of which are now racing off of Bermuda.   This video was posted today by the event’s organizers.   In spite of the scale of these magnificent yachts, I expect that attendees at our SSCA event spend many more nights aboard and sail more miles each year than the owners of these monsters.   However, it is fun to spend time at these regattas, that’s for sure.

I know that as few years ago Brenda and I were invited to race aboard Marie a 180′ Vitters built ketch in the Newport Bucket Regatta. What a thrill to be on the water aboard such a magnificent yacht. This video gives you a pretty good idea of what it’s like to be aboard a “superyacht” and sail in one of these regattas. Let me tell you, while the sailing is amazing, the food is fabulous too. “would you care for a lamb kabob or a lobster roll?”  No, I am saving myself for desert. In the evenings, at the docks, there are amazing parties and I wrote this post about the “yacht hopping” experience.

So, I guess that the question is “where is the best place to be if you’re super?” and I guess that depends.  For me, super yachts aside, I vote for Essex and our Summer Solstice Gam this weekend and for the 5th year at the Essex Yacht Club. Sure there’s lots of “super” stuff going on in Bermuda but I’ll take my cruising friends.

However, don’t get me wrong.  I we are asked to sail on Marie again…  Nope, we won’t say no.  Yes, that was super too.  Mega super for sure.

Can a ship be cute and rugged?

It’s Friday morning and the sun is out.  Brenda and I plan lunch at a nearby vineyard as a sort of post anniversary (ours) and birthday (mine) outing in our little red car.   The vineyard is Priam and they have picnic tables outside where you can bring your own lunch and enjoy a bottle of their wine.  It’s a very pretty place.  I mention this as it’s during the warm months that Pandora is put to bed and we focus on land themed activities.  And speaking of land, well sort of.  This little tree frog is visiting us as in past summers.  We have named him Vilado.  Not sure why, that’s just because he looks like a Vilado.   Right?  Whatever…Pandora’s still in Hampton and I’ll be bringing her north at he end of the month and then she will be hauled for 6-8 weeks.   I plan on splashing her again in time to go to Newport for classic J yacht racing in late August.  I understand that there will be 7 racing, the largest number ever to share a course.  Amazingly, these boats continue to be built and from original plans.  The most recent one, Svea,  launched in the Netherlands, built from plans that were drawn up back in the 30s but never built.

She’s massive.No mistaking that this is a game that can only be played by the “big boys” who can afford “big toys”.   A picture of power in every way. It will be fun to see her and the others in Newport later this summer.  Until then I am focused on more humble but perhaps no less important vessels closer to home.

I had written about a recent arrival at the CT River Museum, the lovely Onrust. She’s a reproduction of Adrien Block’s 17th century ship, the first European ship to be built in the new world.   His charts were remarkably accurate for someone who didn’t have any way to view things except from the deck of his little ship.   This chart by Block covers the area from the Delaware north through New England.   Not bad for a guy from the 1600s. Block himself looking like he’s ready for anything.  Love the PFD.  Ok, perhaps It’s a collar.  Doesn’t it look like a PFD?   Actually, I’m thinking that he didn’t wear one, a PFD that is.   However, he did get around plenty.  Now that the Onrust, the replica of Block’s ship, is in Essex, I couldn’t resist visiting her and taking some detail shots of her construction.    She’s small but tough as nails.  Probably much like Adrian in spite of that wacky collar.   However, I wore a powder blue tux with dark blue piping and a ruffled shirt to Brenda’s and my junior prom so who am I to judge?

Anyway, Block was an impressive guy and I am just loving the Onrust.  So, I took a trip down to the CT River Museum, where the ship is for this season, and took some photos of some of her details.  I wrote about her in a few prior posts so if you just scroll down below this post you will see them.  What comes next, may be, as my Dad used to say “more than you want to know about penguins” but here goes.

She takes folks out on the CT River for tours moat days but I caught her at the CT River Museum docks.  She looks great. There are a number of wonderful details that have been incorporated into her construction.  Love the lion on the stem.   And, the lacing on the bowsprit is just so. Lots of detail went into this little ship.  Her forestay with her jib.   A little different than Pandora’s rod rigging and stainless turnbuckles. And speaking of lines, you can never have enough lines.  There’s just something about coiled lines…
Nice attention to detail on the mast.  No power winches on Onrust.How about the detail at the top of the mast?  I expect that there is a story about that too. The mast has a tabernacle so it can be easily laid down on deck.   That’s a nice feature for ease of work aloft.  No crane needed.All of the hardware was forged by hand, including this really nice hook holding the running backstay.    Sort of a “olden day” soft shackle, I guess.   You know, the type made out of Spectra?The deck area is set up for lots of folks on board.  The original Onrust sailed with a crew of dozens I expect which would have been pretty crowded, open decks or not.  Consider that the original vessel was built in the dead of winter in only four months.  Those guys were really tough anyway so close quarters were just the way it was.  She’s well armed with some really nice bronze cannons and they really work.  I saw/heard one on my “voyage” aboard from Old Saybrook.They too have some nice little details.   I’m sure that there is a story here too.   A monkey and anchors?Lot’s to see down below.  Certain accommodations have been made in deference to her current use and certainly for the USCG.  Back in Block’s day, this would have been cargo only. I guess that Block’s crew would have slept on top of well, whatever was in the hold. Lots of nice detail work like this well fashioned knee holding up the deck.
Great hand forged hardware. The wood is well finished but not fussy.  Nice hinge, complete with cut nails.  Hand forged nails?   Probably. A view of the forepeak. And a view aft.  In case the crew get “soft” no cushions on the bunks.  Don’t know what this is at the base of the bulkhead aft of the mast but it’s really, really sturdy.  I’d have thought that it was for a centerboard.  However, she has lee boards. And, here’s one of them.   From a construction standpoint, it’s a lot easier to make these than a centerboard.  A boat with lee boards can also ground out easily with no damage.    I guess a logical place to finish up is of a shot of her crew.  “Aargg.  Hoist the main brace!  And be quick about it, you scallywags!” All, and all, the Onrust is a charming, dare I say cute, little ship?  However, like her “father” Adrien Block, she’s tough, that’s for sure.   I can’t wait to go out on her again.  Yes, I guess you actually can be cute and tough.

Oh yeah.  Want to go for a ride?  You can.  Contact the CT River Museum.  You’ll be glad you did.

A cruise on the Onrust. Heading “Home” to the CT River Museum.

Yesterday was an awesome day.  Not only was the sun out for the first time in what seems like FOREVER, but I was invited to cruise aboard Onrust for the “last mile” as she made her way to the “summer home away from home” at the CT River Museum in Essex.

Our arrival was timed to coincide with a fundraiser event at the Museum so there would be plenty of folks on hand, 350 or so, to welcome her.   At the appointed time Brenda dropped me at the marina in Old Saybrook that had hosted Onrust for the previous night.  She looked splendid on the dock with blue sky and puffy clouds in the background. Her stern is impressive, perhaps I might call it “cute”.   Love the “colors”.    How about that braiding on the flag staff?I wonder if Adriaen carved the stem as intricately as this?She has a nice deck layout.  Oddly, photos down below are not allowed.  Not sure why as she’s wonderfully finished below decks.  As is my custom, I made sure that I was one of the first to arrive when the boat was nearly empty.   However, by the time we left, following speeches by various dignitaries, she had a full compliment of “crew”.   The guy with the blue cap and pink pants is Tom Wilcox, president of the CT River Museum BOD, welcoming everyone.  Tom used to be the director of the Maritime Museum in Bath Maine and is a wealth of knowledge on marine history.   That’s a great museum too, BTW.I particularly enjoyed the remarks by the “official” CT State Historian, Walter Woodward.  I asked him to share his remarks with me and I’ll put them up in a future post.   I also asked if he gives talks and he does.  Sounds like someone that I could tap for future Seven Seas Cruising Association events.  There’s just no end to interesting people that you can meet with a little effort. Of course, no cruise is complete without refreshments.   Fortunately, we didn’t heel enough to upset the vittles. They did put up the sail for a bit but the wind was light.  However, it was a lovely sight. As we worked our way up the river, we were passed by this lovely traditional power yacht Deliverance.  She was built in Maine and launched in 2011.  What a looker.   It looks like her designer, drew inspiration from classic sardine carriers.  Check her out at this link.  Since launching in 2011 she has worked her way down and back on the Intra Coastal Waterway spent time in the Bahamas.    She’s a boat that would make a nice home away from home.  Charming wheelhouse. I mention the sardine carrier connection as the yard where she was built, D.N. Hylan Boatbuilders in Brooklin Maine, also did a restoration on Greyling, herself a sardine carrier converted to a pleasure boat.  I have seen her a number of times over the years.  You can see the resemblance.  Well, I can.Anyway, back to Onrust.  I was thrilled to be able to take the helm for much of the run to the CRM the captain was with crew getting ready to dock and only looked to me a “few” times to be sure that I was paying attention.   My attire wasn’t particularly traditional though.   Perhaps if I hang around enough I’ll be able to get one of the “official” caps.  We approached the landing at the museum and were greeted by cheers from the guests.
And we were serenaded by a fife and drum corp, the Sailing Masters of Essex.  I just loved their uniforms which are fashioned after those worn by the United States Navy during the period of 1810-1815.  Very natty.Later they posed for photos aboard the Onrust.  What a sight.  “Land ho!”  No, make that “Essex ho!”  “All hands to battle stations.  Run out the cannons!”So, there she is, on the docks at the CT River Museum where she will be stationed for the summer, giving tours of the local waterfront.   I think she’s found a good home and am really impressed with Chris Dobbs, the director of CRM for making the connections that brought such a wonderful vessel to Essex.
The Onrust, Essex and The CT River museum will all benefit from this wonderful new partnership and I was thrilled to be a tiny part of her arrival to her new “home away from home”.

I can’t wait to get to know her better.

A boy and his boat. JFK and Victura

Remember that wonderful book, The Wind in the Willows and that famous quote uttered by Rat as he and Mole were rowing up the canal?   “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

I am sure that there are many among you that feel the same way so I expect that you will enjoy this short piece about JFK and is 30 year love affair with his Wiano Senior, “Victura” , a gift from his father on his 15th birthday.  This video was released recently in recognition of what would have been JFK’s 100th birthday.  Shortly after Brenda and I were first married we purchased our first “boat to mess around in” and while our current Pandora, nearly 40 years later, can be quite a hand full and has taken us far and wide, I do have many fond memories of our early years of “messing about in boats”.  There is certainly a simplicity of purpose when boats, and life, are not so complicated.

My good friend and now famous marine artist, Christopher Blossom gave me this lovely portrait of Brenda and me aboard our first boat, TAO, a 20′ Cape Cod Catboat sailing off of Fairfield CT as a birthday present many years ago. Of course, even if our boats and lives have become more complicated, there’s always Pandora’s mascot Louis to remind us of simpler times as he gazes out at the world as it rushes by aboard Pandora.   I’m sure, that mice, rats, moles and even Presidents alike will agree that indeed, “there is nothing — absolutely nothing — half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats.”

A happy 100th Birthday to JFK.   A boy that loved messing around in boats.