Monthly Archives: December 2018

There’s no such thing as a “good tan.”

So often, when we have met folks on a boating holiday, they spend hours up on the bow, “catching the rays” so that when they go back to work they will hear “wow, what a great tan.”

However, talk to a derm and they will tell you, having seen so much sun damage and worse, over the years, that there is simply no such thing as a good tan.    Yes, nearly everyone knows that excessive sun, or at least extra ultraviolet (UV) radiation, sunburn or not, is not good for you.

According to the American Cancer Society, melanoma, the most dangerous form of skin cancer, can develop anywhere on your body, even those areas “where the sun don’t shine”.   Interestingly, the risk of melanoma is increasing in people under 40 and understanding what to look for is important before the cancer spreads, leading to better survival.

Unchecked, melanoma is often fatal, in part because even an advanced case often doesn’t look like much, more like a mole with irregular boarders.    This image shows how innocuous it can appear. I am particularly focused on this because Brenda was diagnosed with melanoma three years ago after we got back from Cuba.  She had noticed a small spot on her arm some months earlier,when we were in the Bahamas, that looked a lot like the spot in the photo above but it wasn’t until we returned home in May that she had a dermatologist at Yale Medicine check it out.   Fortunately for Brenda, hers had only progressed slightly beyond stage one, but that diagnosis was upsetting in itself as she was told that a recurrence was perhaps 1 in four, not great odds.

Even though the lesion didn’t look like much, the surgery to remove it proved to be quite extensive, involving the removal of the equivalent of a modest “ice cream scoop” of tissue, all the way down to the muscle.  Even more fun was that they then made an incision from the borders of the excised section that extended in both directions nearly to her shoulder and elbow.  This had to be done so that they could pull the edges of the “ice cream scoop” together without causing a divot or pucker where the incision was the deepest.

Additionally, they removed some sentinel nodes in her armpit for testing to see if the cancer had migrated beyond the lesion on her arm.  Fortunately, these came up negative.  The point of telling you this is that even the smallest melanoma is a big deal and is generally dealt with aggressively, which speaks volumes of the danger that it represents.

When Brenda was diagnosed, we did wonder if our sailing days were over because of the need to avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun going forward.  For us, it was doubly important that we find out how much protection from UV that Brenda would have aboard during the brightest portions of the day, from around 10:00 to 16:00 hrs, when the sun was most intense.

With this in mind, I purchased a testing instrument from General Instruments that would accurately measure both UVA and UVB light waves, the parts of the light spectrum that have been identified as being the most damaging to skin.

According to the instrument maker’s website, “The #UV512C UVC light meter is ideal for applications such as UV curing and sterilization, semiconductor fabrication, offset printing, environmental monitoring and industrial process control.”   Ok, sounded pretty official and scientific to me.The big question was how much UV would Brenda be exposed to at “high noon” in the Caribbean, aboard Pandora, where we spend a good deal of time each winter.    

We’ve also heard, over the years, that you can get a bad burn from “reflected UV” off of the water and this alarmed us as, even with a bimini overhead, it seemed to be an impossible task to eliminate the UV coming in from the sides of our enclosure, reflected off of the water.

In theory, Pandora has better sun protection than most with her hard dodger and fully enclosed cockpit.  As an aside, you may be wondering if being enclosed all the time is too hot in the tropics, it isn’t.   Actually, the full enclosure has proven to be particularly helpful  at keeping the relentless trade winds to a manageable level.  However, up in the NE, where the winds are often light, we need to open things up much more.

When we were in Antigua, and that’s plenty far south with really intense sun, even in the winter months, I took a number of measurements, with the meter, at noon when the sun is most intense.  Here’s what I found, some of what surprised me.

Control:  As a control I took measurements directly into the noon sun, in a cloudless sky.  The reading, and the highest that will register on the instrument, weas 10,000 units.  Deep shade, away from the water, registered between 500 and 600 units, about 5%.

Sunscreen:  Then I put a small piece of plastic wrap over the sensor and checked full sun again that showed readings in the 8,500 range, suggesting that very thin plastic wrap let through most of the UV light.  Next, I put a very light smear of SPF 15 sunscreen and the reading, again in full sun, was about 2,000.  With a thicker spread of SPF 15, half of that.  SPF 60 yielded a reading of 600, a lot less, about the same as in deep shade.

Surprises:  Perhaps the most interesting readings came from pointing the unit toward the sun at 45 degrees off of the water, simulating “reflective light” where I only received a reading of 2,000, only 20% of full sun.  That was much less than I had expected.  Further, in the middle of the cockpit, where the light was still very bright, the measurements were equivalent to deep shade.

Vinyl blocks UV:  I also took measurements through the clear plastic of the vinyl dodger, both new and old material, and the measurement was, again, zero.   Even old and weathered vinyl cut out 100% of the UV rays.  I found that astonishing, however I guess it does make sense as the material is treated to resist UV degradation.

Glass does not block UV:  My hard dodger has large pieces of tempered glass and I was surprised to find that it only blocked 10% of the UV rays.   All of this suggested that during the brightest parts of the day Brenda was very well protected under the bimini, even if it seemed so bright that sunglasses were required.

Clothing protects from UV:  So, what about clothing?  I tried an old white T shirt and found that, even when wet, it blocked about 95% of UV with a dry shirt letting through somewhat more.  I was particularly surprised by that given all the hype about UV protective clothing.  My test suggests that just about any clothing that covers you up works well, even if it doesn’t have a “UV rating”.  I guess that putting a UV rating on clothing is about the same as saying that a particular shirt has “100% blockage against vampires”.   Works for me.

All of this is good news but I guess that the most surprising thing to me was how low the UV exposure was under the dodger and bimini.  And that clear vinyl windows were just as effective as being down below when it came to exposure, and that even the lightest white clothing, “UV protected” or not, provided good protection.

The good news for Brenda is that two and a half years out from her surgery she is doing well and her doctor told her recently that her risk of recurrence now is “very, very small”, which is good news.

His advice to her is that it’s OK to continue spending time aboard Pandora but to always use plenty of sunscreen and to do her best to stay out of the sun when it is most intense.

One way or the other, we are taking his advice very seriously but it’s nice to know that being aboard Pandora we can still manage the risk.

So, there you have it.  reflected UV isn’t nearly as much of a problem as everyone thinks, sunscreen really does work and most any clothing does an excellent job of keeping harmful UV out.

We continue to keep our fingers crossed that Brenda won’t have a recurrence and every year that passes makes that less likely, which is good news.

All and all, this experience has certainly made the phrase “there’s no such thing as a good tan”, means more to us than ever.

Ok, so with our UV exposure in the winter up here in New England so low, I wonder if we will develop a vitamin D deficiency.  Great, something new to worry about.

I can’t wait till May.  Are we there yet?

Headed back to Canada, 40 years later. This time, aboard Pandora.

I have recently written about our plans to visit the Bay of Fundy and the St John river next summer.  It will be our first trip there on our own boat but not our first trip there, “aboard” a boat.

As I have mentioned, I have been digging through some old photos lately and have come up with some wonderful images that conjure up many great memories.

And speaking of old photos and visiting Canada, our last trip there was a REALLY long time ago, way back in 1979.  We had only been married for about two years and hadn’t even thought about buying a boat.

While our trip this coming summer won’t take us across the Bay of Fundy to Yarmouth, I expect that many of the spots we’ll visit will have the similar, otherworldly feel that makes the coastline so beautiful.

Our trip, so many years ago, was by car and began in Portland ME where we caught the overnight ferry to Yarmouth.   We splurged on a sleeping cabin.   No, this isn’t a view of our cabin and I’ll admit that I can’t recall much except that Brenda didn’t eat dinner as she felt queasy.   The bow of the ferry. And speaking of queasy, the muscular build of this Canadian cost guard boat gives a pretty good feel for how rough it can get out on the water there.  We brought along our car on the ferry, then a tiny diesel VW Rabbit.  Remember them?  That car got AMAZING mileage, about 50 mpg, on average.   And, I remember that diesel was $.47 a gallon.   And, during the oil embargo I sometimes bought fuel oil from a place in Bridgeport CT.  I’d pull up to the heating oil place and they’d snake a hose out from the shop and fill me up.  Totally illegal.  Ah, those were the days.  I won’t talk about my income in those years.  About as low, or perhaps lower than the price of fuel.  I was selling advertising for a local free newspaper. We have always loved lighthouses and to this day go out of my way to visit them when we travel.   This one, in Yarmouth is on Cape Forchu is well known and often photographed.    We climbed up to the top to take in the view.   The light went round and round and as it passed, you could feel the heat of the bulb as it passed, like a rotisserie.  Brenda thought it was great too until the foghorn went off.  It was so loud that it made us weak in the knees.  To this day it still takes some coaxing to get her up in an active lighthouse.  We have only camped in a tent twice together, the first time was while we were in college, near Niagara Falls. It rained the whole time and we quickly learned that the tent was not waterproof and that didn’t even include the fact that there was no bottom to the tent, waterproof or not.  Water coming in from above and below.

On this trip we split our time camping and visiting Bed and Breakfast inns.   I still vividly recall our camping near Peggy’s Cove on a bluff overlooking the North Atlantic, with the fog rolling in.    Not a luxury tent, to be sure.Not a great shot but I include this as it features our wok, perched over an open fire.  We filled it with seaweed and added two lobsters.  That wok has served us faithfully for all these years.  We still use it nearly every day.  After that trip it was really well seasoned.    One evening, or was it the only evening we camped there?, we heard someone playing bagpipes in the waning twilight.  It was a remarkable moment with the forlorn music and fog wafting over the campsite.

We really enjoyed the time up there.  We were so young.   Mere kids. To this day I still get a thrill when I see a schooner.   On this trip we went out for a day sail on the schooner Bluenose II,  a reproduction of a classic Grand Banks fisherman laucnhed in the 1920s.   The original Bluenose was the fastest fishing schooner in the fleet and is still regarded as perhaps the fastest ever launched.  The “new” Bluenose is a roving ambassador for Nova Scotia and travels widely. Brenda is a prolific fiber artist, graduating from her early focus on knitting.  I  believe that this may have been her first sweater knitted with “real” yarn.   This particular photo is one of my all time favorites.  When she was younger, but not a lot younger than she is in this photo, she didn’t have access to good yarn, or any, for that matter, and had to knit a single ball of red yarn, probably (gasp) acrylic, rip it out and knit it up again.  She still has to rip things out but not because of a lack of good yarn.    Quite the contrary, her “stash” is prodigious.

I have no idea how many sweaters she has knitted over the last 40 years but it’s probably hundreds.   It’s pretty safe to say that she has been knitting nearly every day as long as I have known her.   Right now she is knitting booties for our nearly new twin grand-babies.   As Brenda would say, in a high squeeky baby voice, “they are soooo cuuute!”

Ok, back to boats:

The Pride of Baltimore was visitinng.   She was a reproduction of a Baltimore Clipper launched in 1977, the year Brenda and I were married.  She a sailed over 150,000 miles as an ambassador to Baltimore MD.   However, while her design was fairly faithful to the original type, that proved to be a problem as she lacked some of the modern safety features now common which proved to be her undoing.  Unfortunately, she sank in the Caribbean in 1986 with the loss of captain and three crew.  Her successor the “Pride” II has watertight bulkheads and was built to more modern safety standards.  Pride II has sailed over 300,000 miles, visited over 200 ports in 40 countries over her now 30 year career.Pride was quite authentic down to her beautiful gig. In the “they don’t make them like they used to” category, how about the hull of this fishing boat?  Not a lot made these days of planked wood.    She’s a beauty, or at least once one as she’s certainly long gone. The tides in the Bay of Fundy are known as being among the highest in the world, as high as 40′.  That’s a lot of water moving in and out of the huge Bay of Fundy, twice a day.   As the tide floods the water surges in, moving a small wave ahead of it.  This is referred to as a “bore” and is pretty impressive to see as the ridge of white water rolling inland across any inlet or bay. Perhaps the most photographed harbor in Nova Scotia is Peggy’s Cove.  It’s an impossibly quaint fishing village on the eastern shore.  Charming fishing boats at every turn. Where there is “quaint”, there are artists capturing the view.  Peggy’s Cove is no different. With big tides, all you have to do to haul a boat is to pull it up at high tide and let the receding tide do the rest. Just about all of the boats we saw were still built of wood and the cottages surrounding the harbor, oh so quaint.  I expect that many of these have been sold, over the years, to summer residents, known in Maine as “from away”.  We visited, of course, the local lighthouse.   Looks like Brenda’s waiting for the wind to blow up her skirt.  Me too…And, speaking of breezy, the coastline here is quite rugged and windswept.  I can only imagine what it is like in the dead of winter. With the constant wind not a lot grows higher than knee high.
We went out on a day fishing boat, jigging for squid and even caught some cod.
Ready to head out to sea. We even caught a flounder, sole, fluke, something like that.  It’s flat anyway.   Not sure she’d “soil” her hands on an icky fish these days.  It was on this very trip that we talked about buying a boat for the first time.  There was a small boat show in Yarmouth, If I recall.  I expect that this photo was taken when I said “Hey, let’s buy a boat”.   “Very funny Bob, perhaps not.” The coastline is so spectacular.   Maine is very similar so we’ll see this sort of view next summer which will mark our 15th time to visit Maine aboard our own boat.  I went to Maine briefly a few years ago but Brenda hasn’t been there since I retired over six years ago.  Lovely views.   I wonder if it looks the same nearly 40 years later. Ok, how about a photo of me for balance?  Funny, seems that I had more hair then. Well, it’s getting late and I need to pack for our trip to MD tomorrow to celebrate our grandaughter Tori’s birthday.    She’s a real cutie.

Perhaps I’ll close for now with a photo of my own cutie.  Well, it’s been a long time since this photo was taken way back when.
A lot of water has gone under our keel since this photo was taken but it’s nice to know that we will soon be making memories again in Canada this coming summer.

Did I mention that we’re heading back?  This time on our own boat.  Who’d have guessed?

It’ll be fun.    Totally, for sure.

Hey honey, let’s buy a boat.

It was the late 70s, and we still practically newly weds, when I said something like “hey honey, let’s buy a boat”.    Brenda and I had been sailing together since our junior year of high school when we sailed aboard a Carl Alberg Typhoon out or Norwalk with our friend Chris.  It was from Chris that I caught the sailing bug.

Well, Brenda must have said yes, or is perhaps guilty of not putting up a better fight, but one way or the other, we settled on our first boat.   Somehow we found a tiny, although it didn’t seem particularly tiny to us at the time, Cape Cod catboat, a Mystic 20 built in Groton CT named Tao.    She was named, as are so many “cat” boats, after a cat.  In this case, the Siamese cat in the Disney story “The Incredible Journey”.

We looked at her in Mystic CT and it was love at first sight.  Our very first boat.   I believe this is a shot of her in the marina, the day we took delivery.
We headed out, aboard Tao, with our friends, Chris and Pat for the run back to Bridgeport where we planned to keep her.    I was a happy guy.   Happy to have a boat that was better looking than my hat.    Well, this shot wasn’t taken on that exact day, but it illustrates my point. Brenda, perhaps happy as well but only until she discovered, to her extreme distress, that she was prone to nausea when things got bumpy.  Which on a small boat, is nearly all of the time.  I wish I could say that she eventually got over it, but not completely, even to this day, 40 years later.

Look at her. Her expression is very nearly “come hither”.  Worked for me…

I guess it was a calm day on the water.  Nice sweater,  she knitted this one and many, many others, over the years.  Hundreds?  Quite possibly.
Well, we finally made it to Bridgeport where I had arranged for a mooring to be installed off of the beach, down the street from the duplex apartment that we were renting at the time.

That arrival day, when we tied up to the mooring off of the beach,  was not a calm day.  Not at all.  Once we were secured to the mooring, Brenda leaped overboard, foul weather gear and all, and waded ashore.   I don’t recall what she said or perhaps thought exactly, about that first cruise but I am pretty sure it isn’t printable.    Not a great way to begin our sailing life together.

Shortly after that horrible beach landing, perhaps the very next day, I moved the boat to a more sheltered mooring in a nearby harbor.

From that day forward there has been an ongoing quest to find calm anchorages.  Sometimes we were actually successful. We hung out with our friends Chris and Pat along with others, nearly every weekend.   No outboard engines on our dinks in those days.  Chris and Garrett with me in the bow.  Good thing it was a calm anchorage.   Rub a dub, dub…

Chris and Pat’s Sea Sprite 23 had an outboard.  Way to small for an inboard.
We joined the Catboat Association and were members for many years.  Eventually, Brenda and I ended up on the board, or “steering committee”.  Get it “steering” the association, like a boat?  Clever?  We thought so.

We also participated in many catboat races in those days.   However, like today, back then, if you ask Brenda what her favorite part of sailing is, she will say, predictably, “being anchored”.
And anchor we did.  I particularly like this shot of Brenda.   What a dish.  I’d totally date that girl.   To starboard, a mop, or some bleach blond chick.  No, a mop, really. However, anchoring alone was rare for us as we nearly always rafted up with other small boats.  Somehow three tiny boats tied up together don’t seem, well, so tiny.   That became even more important when we all started popping out kiddos.    However, we weren’t in a rush, as while we were “yacht owners” we didn’t want to bring kids into the world until we were really settled.

To us, being “settled” meant a microwave and garage, which weren’t in place until we’d been married for nearly 8 years.  Actually, there was more to it than that as we were pretty much kids ourselves when we got married, our early 20s.  Kids having kids doesn’t always work out so well.

Here’s Tao rafted with her bigger sister Lady Bug, a Legnos 10-3 and Petrel, a sister ship to Tao owned by Toby and Martha Forbes.   We met them. along with their son and his family that owned Lady Bug in Port Jefferson.   We became long time friends and eventually moved into the guest cottage on their estate Oak Knoll, in Ridgefield not long after this shot was taken. This is where Toby and Martha lived, in the main house.  It was built by Frederick Remington, the artist, as a summer home.   We loved it there and lived on the estate for, I think, three years.   Oak Knoll was designated as a historic site in the 60s. I was a really charming little cottage, once the home of the estate gardener and also built by Remington.  It was a great spot and the deck, nearly as large as our cottage, provided a spectacular view. I loved working out in the yard, or should I say, the South 40, clearing brush and cutting dead wood for the wood stove.   Toby and Martha were very happy to have the help, I think.  I am not absolutely positive about that, but they were always very gracious.   They left us pretty much alone and it wasn’t until years later that we really became good friends.  We all wished we had spent more time together when we lived in the cottage.

Toby and Martha met during WWII in SanDiego.  Toby was a PBY Catalina amphibious airplane Navy pilot.  Martha love to tell the story of how she was smitten by him when she first saw Toby in his uniform and went right up to him and took his arm.  They were a wonderful couple.

Here I am with my college buddy Tom, driving the tractor.  “Bob, let me drive, let me drive!”  Tom now lives in Marblehead MA and is an active sailboat racer with his wife Lisa.  It was a lovely cottage.  I believe this is a shot of the living room.  Want to guess what time of the year it is?  That’s right Christmas.  Gold star for you.

Notice the stuffed decorations on the tree and the skirt.  Brenda sewed them all.  We also sewed those lovely covers for the chair cushions.  Not a bad pattern.  Since then we’ve upgraded.  No more vinyl sling chairs for us.
It was aboard Tao that we learned to enjoy gin and tonics, perhaps from Toby and Martha.  It must have been too early in the day for that when this shot was taken.   We are still in regular touch with Chris and Pat, to this day.  Our youngest is named for Chris, actually.
We fished but once caught, we had no idea what to do with our catch on on such a small boat.  Besides, who actually eats bluefish?
In those days, no protection from the weather so foul weather gear was in use nearly all of the time.  Brenda just loved being coated with salt, even on a sunny day.  Tao was a wet boat and to make matters worse, no shower.   There’s that hat again.  I guess it was on sale.  I can’t think of any other reason I’d buy it.  Heck, perhaps it was free.  Had to be…
Not sure about how this shot fits in.  I just like it. We sailed as late into the season as we could and I can still remember the one Memorial Day Weekend when I couldn’t get the boat ready in time.  I wasn’t happy at all about that.  Mechanical problems, I recall.  Isn’t that always the reason?
I guess Brenda hadn’t yet seen “Jaws”.   Thanks Stephen, I never really got over that, myself.   DUH DUH…DUH DUH…DUH DUH DHU…However, I have always been fairly sure that sharks don’t eat clammers.   Well, mostly sure.  Don’t you just love the speedo?
We sailed Tao, far and wide, farther and wider than was reasonable, in such a tiny boat.  Oh, did I mention that it had an even tinier 5hp one cylinder diesel?  When it was running, it sounded like someone rattling a stone in a coffee can.  Bang, bang, bang… I still have the prop on my desk as a paper weight.

We covered a lot of ground from Bridgeport to Nantucket and down to Barnegat Bay NJ.  Brenda was not amused when we went through NYC, Hell gate sideways and into a snotty SW wind under the Verazanno Bridge with a full ebb against the wind and a huge chop.

After that experience, it wasn’t until we headed south in our SAGA 43 Pandora, that she went through NYC again, more than 20 years, or was it 30 years later, declaring “Well, that wasn’t so bad”.  You go girl!  She is such a sport.

Once, we even sprung for spot on the dock at Bannister’s Wharf in Newport, behind the famous ocean racer Boomerang.  For a 20′ boat the cost of dockage, by the foot was about the same as a fixed rate mooring.   It was a really long way down from the dock to the deck at low tide.
Remember Buzzards bay Light near Martha’s Vineyard?    It’s now a tall flasher but no longer manned or with a chopper deck for switching crew.
We passed the light on our way to the Vineyard and Nantucket.  It was a really long way to go in a 20′ boat.   Perhaps easy to get there, with the SW prevailing winds but tough to get back in time to go to work after our two week holiday.   And, when it got foggy, no radar, GPS, just dead-reckoning in pea soup, not sure what was coming our way.

And, there was always a lot of commercial traffic coming our way.  This freighter pre-dates the current container ships that dominate world trade.  This sort, the type that sports it’s own cranes for loading and unloading, are still used in some really small ports but most have been scrapped. Our one trip to Nantucket aboard Tao was to visit the Opera House Cup, an annual gathering of classic yachts.   This is the original Malabar class schooner, by the same name, designed by John Alden .  I tried my best to get a spot on this boat for one of the races.  No luck. Back in the early 80s, there we still a lot of older fishing boats out on Block Island Sound.  That was before the modern draggers that decimated the fish population.
And, there was no fishing village more charming than Menemsha, Martha’s Vineyard.  This is an old style sword fishing boat.  A spotter would stand on the cross tree on the mast, supported by the hoops.  When they saw a fish swimming along the surface, they’d go up on a long bowsprit and harpoon the fish.    A lot of swordfish were landed at these docks.However, adventures aside, and there were plenty of them aboard Tao, we had some of our best times just lazing along on a calm summer evening, G&T in hand.
And it was on this very evening, when this shot was taken by our artist friend Chris, while aboard his own boat, that he immortalized Tao and her crew in the painting that he did for me as a gift on my 25th birthday.  For me, that painting immortalizes those wonderful times along with those famous words, “hey honey, let’s buy a boat”.   I’m pretty sure that sometimes Brenda still wishes she had said, “let me think about that for a while”.

Setting that aside, and I do, it’s been a great ride.

Times change. So far, so good.

Now that I am settled, sort of, into the reality that cold is going to be the word of the day for the next few months, I have been wondering exactly what I will write about.  In years passed before I retired and we headed south for the winter, I somehow found a way to keep posts flowing, but for this winter I fear that I will find myself  at odds as to what I can write about for the next few months.  It’s really easy to write about boats and such when we are aboard one but now, not so easy.

Sure, I can write about the upgrades to Pandora but just how much scintillating prose can one absorb about heat guns and scrapers as I tease out the mess that’s ,no longer, holding up the headliner?

My brother Bill had suggestion that is intriguing.  He had initially shared this idea with me a while back but I never took it to heart and that was to write about the “olden days”, a sort of “what I did on my summer vacation” story.  Ok, described that way perhaps it, does sound like a big yawn but I am going to try a version of that.  With that in mind, I’ll try to go easy on you and bring something to the discussion beyond the “we went from Block Island to Cuttyunk and it rained with wind on the nose and took xxx hours….”

No, instead I’ll, well I’m not sure what I’ll write but I’ll try to make it interesting.

So, yesterday I went up into the attic to pull out a few boxes, and let me tell you these boxes are big, full of years of photos, both prints and 35mm slides.   I’ll admit that I got a bit teary eyed as I sorted through nearly 50 years of photos trying to decide where to begin.

As it’s close to Christmas as I write this, I also found myself thinking about an Osborn Family Tradition of watching National Lampoon’s Family Vacation with Chevy Chase, on Christmas Day, after all the packages are unwrapped.  Griswold had the crying gene too, big time.

My trip to the attic reminded me of the scene in the movie when he becomes trapped up in the attic.  If you recall the scene, skip this 2 minute clip.  If not, view on and you’ll get the idea.  And, speaking of wonderful memories and old photos.   I ordered a photo converter that can handle negatives, slides and prints and scan them to digital.  It’s a pretty neat unit and I should have it in a few days.  No wait, it’s going to arrive on Tuesday.   Amazon promises…and I believe.  I BELIEVE!

We have been planning to get a quality scanner for some time now as Brenda still has hundreds of slides to scan for the book she’s working on about Archie Brennan, the tapestry weaver and her long time teacher so we needed it anyway.

“So, Bob, do tell.  What scanner did you order?”   Well, if you insist, it’s an Epson Perfection Document Scanner, and can handle slides, negatives and photos as well as digitize text from a book or magazine which will make plagiarism ever so much easier.  I chose this particular model as it was recommended by Brenda’s publisher as easy to use and fairly fast, even with high density scans.  It even has a few “magic” features that removes dust spots and scratches as well as re-color faded slides and photos.  How do it do dat?

In the meantime, I thought it would be fun to kick off this “series” and write a bit about Artemis, our third boat that met an unfortunate and untimely death when she tangled with a granite dock years ago.

Artemis was a Pearson, Invitca Yawl, built in 1962, one of about 10 built from Bill Tripp Sr’s design.   I am told that the design was similar in form to a Bermuda 40, which you can see from the lines.  She was a beautiful, if slow boat.  We sailed her quite a bit, although she wasn’t very fast, with her 25′ waterline and small sail plan.

As a particular point of interest, Artemis had a famous sibling, Burgoo that won first place, for the entire 142 boat fleet, on corrected time of course, the Bermuda race in 1964.   Event the NY Times wrote about her feat in this article.   Don’t you just love Google?

So, back to Artemis,  and our time aboard her.   We spent a lot of time cruising in those days although it was always in short stints over weekends and our obligatory summer vacation.

Our boys Rob and Chris were a lot smaller then.  Along the way, we often visited Selden Creek, on the CT River, not far from our home now.  It was, and still is, a beautiful spot.  However, we don’t visit aboard Pandora as she’s as long as the creek is wide and draws to much water to get over the bar where the creek meets the river.

Don’t tell anyone but I was trespassing when I took this photo, probably in 1995.    Like the bimini?  I was a striped bed sheet.  Only the finest. A lazy day ghosting along in light air with her mizzen staysail up and drawing nicely.  Brenda and Chris enjoying the easy sail.
I always thought that she was had beautiful lines, and felt the same way about Artemis.   Here we are at the dock at Norwalk Yacht Club, where we were members for many years. Yes, we had some great times aboard.  However, good times do come to an end, sometimes more dramatically than others and Artemis met her end in the harbor during the October nor’easter of 1996.  Many boats went up on the rocks in Long Island Sound that night, over 200, I heard.    There was considerable damage in Wilson Cove, where Artemis was moored with nearly every boat ripped from their moorings.

I had received a call from the club that Saturday morning reporting that “Artemis isn’t on her mooring”.   Off to Norwalk I headed, not knowing what I’d find.   The beach near the club was littered with boats washed up on shore.  During the few short years I owned her, I took great care of her and did what I could to make her a proper yacht.  The name on the transom was hand painted by a sign painter.  That was in the days before the computer created vinyl lettering of today. So, there I found her, poor Artemis, tucked up against a granite dock.   You can’t see it, but she was sitting on top of a J24 which she had crushed under her heavily built fiberglass bulk.  You know the phrase, “they don’t build them like they used to?”   That’s how Artemis was built, but she was still no match for the granite blocks she was pitted against. They duked it out, Artemis and the dock, for hours and the dock won.  Being the “d0-it-yourselfer” I was and still am, I set about to salvage her myself.    First I stuffed bedding, cushions and towels in the huge crack, over 30′ long that ran down much of the port side where the deck and hull separated.   Notice the oil slick that covered everything down below and around the boat. I was able to get a work boat from Tavern Island nearby to help pump her out with a huge fire pump.   All that “stuffing” of the holes helped and once the bulk of the crack was above water, up she rose like Lazarus, from the depths. When the pumps finally took hold she came up in only a few moments.   Then I towed her to a marina where she was hauled out of the water.  I don’t want to think about what would have happened if she had sunk in the middle of the channel on the 2+ mile run to be hauled.  Oh, the ignorance of youth.

Actually, she was scheduled to be hauled for the winter a few days from then as we had our “final” cruise for the season on Columbus Day, only a few days before the storm hit.
She had a lovely galley with a very nice Force 10 Stove and oven. Not quite as nice after…How about the fridge.  At least, I think that’s what this was. Those cushions, the ones I plugged that 30′ crack with, well, they were never all that nice. But, by comparison, beautiful… Oh yeah, we had recently had her re-powered, about a month earlier actually, with a brand new Westerbeke diesel replacing her worn out Atomic 4 gas engine that finally gave up the ghost on our trip up to Martha’s Vineyard only two months earlier.  I think that the engine only had ten hours on it.   Particularly easy access from the cabin sole and particularly easy access for the engine oil and diesel to rise up and soak everything.  Thank goodness that the EPA wasn’t paying attention as I worked to raise her. Note the mooring pennant in the cockpit.  Oops.  Didn’t hold.  She was a great boat and, boy, was I sad when I lost her.  However, she was the only boat I ever owned that actually paid me back.  Not only was she insured for an agreed value of twice what I paid for her, prior to all the improvements, but I was also paid to salvage her.  When all was said and done, I ended up nearly doubling my money.   Not likely to EVER happen again, that’s for sure.   We are talking about boats, after all.

However, like many smitten by being on the water, I quickly doubled down and brought a boat that was cost even more, Elektra, our Tartan 37.  But, that’s a story for another post. so stay tuned.

Of Artemis, I will always have fond memories of times aboard with Brenda and the boys.   Especially in “The Pit” in Port Jefferson, Long Island.  Those were great times.   Well, great except when the weather was crappy, the wind was unfavorable and everyone was feeling a bit under the weather.  Perfect except for that…These days that harbor is chock full of moorings and it’s party city on the weekends with boats rafted up from one shore to the other.

A lot of water has gone over the dam, we’re retired now and both Rob and Chris are on their own and doing well.

I guess that about covers this for now so I’ll close with a shot I took last week of Rob and his brood.  My, times have changed, haven’t they?  But, in a good way.  Aren’t they cute?  Love Tori’s hair.  She’s going to be two in a few weeks.  Time flies indeed. And, Christopher and his girlfriend Melody, as we dropped them at the airport last week after their visit for Thanksgiving, to head back to CA.   They will be back soon.  So great. Yes, things have changed, but in a really good way.

So, there you have it, a bit of reminiscence of times past.    We’re all grown up now and no Artemis didn’t fare so well, but for us, so far, so good.

Let’s hope that our good luck holds.

As far as this post goes, I hope that it doesn’t read too much like “what I did on my summer vacation”.  Actually, it’s seems more like the Poseidon Adventure with sinking boats along with vacations and such.

Griswold, you aren’t alone in getting a bit teary eyed about days past.   Me, I have the crying gene too.    Just don’t get me started.