SOS! HELP ME TELL MY #METOO STORY, REBUILD MY BOAT, AND LAUNCH AN ONLINE NEWSPAPER DEDICATED TO SAILING & THE MARINE INDUSTRY SO NO GIRL EVER HAS TO GO THROUGH WHAT I DID JUST TO GET ON BOATS (full story here)
Courtesy of Towndock.net, 1963 sailing vessel Teal arrives in the harbor for some much needed refinishing.
Genoa, tri-radial by Evolution Sails / Latell & Ailsworth Sailmakers, HQ, Sailloft & Repair, Deltaville, VA ! Made in the USA
Vintage Hydrovane, Self-steering wind vane; British Columbia. Furlex roller furling
Boat hull/design; Tripp 29; Tripp-Lentsch, built by Amsterdam Shipyard in the Netherlands, 1963
Please enjoy my FREE short film + guided meditation “ALL IS WELL”
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Once again in collaboration with YouTube’r and single-hander Sam Holmes, we test a survival suit and it turns out surprisingly whimsical! From his channel “Sam Holmes Sailing.”
This weekend marks the one year anniversary of when I left Lake Champlain onboard my little boat. I’d have cut the proverbial mooring lines, but I sold my bridle to a friend to pay my debt to the marina.
I left with $1,000 in my pocket headed south on an old, neglected boat that I was slowly improving. I learned about sailing and fixing boats along the way. Not much has changed on the financial side, but at least I am seeing improvements to my vessel and sailing skills! I’m even going to be giving a sailing lesson soon! Each day I get to know my boat better which has ultimately revealed more weaknesses. My ideas that included Puerto Rico, Panama, and other Caribbean destinations for this boat have been replaced by a more realistic voyage to explore the Bahamian islands solely. Cuba would also be possible. I’m exactly where I thought I might be a year later, stuck somewhere in Florida working on the boat.
I’ve traversed the Champlain Canal, Hudson River, New Jersey coastline, Delaware Bay, Chesapeake Bay, and Atlantic Intra Costal Waterway from Norfolk, VA to the Florida Keys. One time while in Georgia I ran painfully hard aground outside of Jekyll Island. When I tried to kedge myself off, I put the anchor on the wrong side and wound up kedging myself further aground. I also managed to get my anchor completely stuck. Luckily, some locals passing by on a John Boat broke the anchor free for me and returned it. When they asked where I’d been and I started naming some of the rivers, bays, and coast I’d sailed one of them looked at me wide eyed and said in a very southern accent, “that’s a lotta water.”
I thanked them, and was soon on my way after the small wake of a passing catamaran and a few more hours of rising tide floated me off the mud.
I want to take this time to thank everyone who has helped me along the way and who cares enough about this journey to donate their time, gear, and hard earned freedom chips. There are still so many stories left untold of people who have not only helped me fix my boat or get me further along my way, but helped restore my faith in humanity.
And to all the people I should thank again for teaching me something important about sailing and helping me work on my boat: Lake Champlain- the good folks (not the bad ones) at Monty’s Bay Boatyard, Tanya & John Foley, John Hammond, Sallie & Jonathen, Tiny & Roel, Jake, Dale, Aaron & Sarah, Bruce & Sue, Point Bay Marina for always looking the other way, Capt. Dan, Hudson- Josh on Albatross, Chesapeake- Rich Acuti, Bill & Chris, Ladies’ Island- Mary, Susie & Adam, NoFlo- Kourtney & Pete, Nubby, Skip, Ray & Ash, Melanie Sunshine, SoFlo- Johnny, Kim, Mike, random folks whom with I rode out a 50 knot squall on a John Boat, Keys- Kacie & Joel
Thanks to my fam for sending me supply items always! To my friends for their friendship. And to all the people I might have forgotten, or who I only met in passing who lent a hand, a tool, or an ear.
Thanks to all the readers of this blog for allowing me a platform to show others that you don’t need a lot of money, or a lot of boat, to go sailing!
And a special thanks to all those who have donated and left kind words of encouragement.
Consider a donation if you enjoy this blog and would like to see more stories and how-to’s on sailing, fixing, and living aboard boats on a shoe string budget!
Notes from donors
With that list the weather will be cooler when you splash! KEEP ON keeping on young lady!
Hope that boot showed up..and a sailing partner if you want one..and fair winds always!
A little something to spend on yourself and your dreams! Hope you are Well and Happy.
hope this gets you down the channel a bit further or helps to keep your blog “afloat”. Would love to see those “Dinghy Monologues” but it’d be so awesome to see a video of you reading them in a dark theatre under the spotlight! Loved what I’ve read so far. “Wind at your back!”
Hi Emily! Hope this helps some. I admire your journey.
Hey, Not much impresses me these days. You’re doing what we all want to do. Much fair wind at your back! Gypsy Eyes 🙂
Nice to see someone living the dream. Keep up the good work.
Back in the 70’s I owned a wooden salmon troller and fished SE Alaska and the West Coast of Washington and Oregon. It was a life of poverty but I was young, immortal. I fished a marginal boat in very serious waters. At the end of the season I might have enough saved to get the boat back to Port Townsend, pay for a month of dock space, and begin looking for odd jobs. I’ve had so many. Worked in the woods logging, worked tree planting while living in a tent in the winter rain, boat delivery, deck hand on a fish packer in the Aleutians. I did what I had to do to eat and get the boat ready for the coming season.
To go without shoes. To go barefoot. Barefoot vagabond. These are the translations I’ve gotten for the name of my newly purchased little boat, Vanupied. Here hull is American, but her spirit quintessentially Quebecoise. It’s only fitting I wound up with a French Canadian boat after I made it my goal that summer in the French Canadian boatyard, rolling tobacco and walking around in a little red scarf, to prove what a francophile I was.
My stereotypes of French culture aside, it seems Vanupied and I were somewhat destined to wind up together. I’d admired her tight little stern in the boatyard from the cockpit of my Bristol 24. She was the first boat I’d ever sailed on Lake Champlain (she launched before I did) and I told her owner, merely weeks after I moved aboard my own boat, “If you ever sell her, let me know.” I even wrote a song about her while rafted together one evening at anchor that rang something like, “Oh, little Vanupied. She’s always faster than me. She goes to weather so much better…”
Reluctantly I put my Bristol up for sale in the Fall of 2016, after my first summer living aboard and sailing my own boat. I wanted something with a narrower beam and a different standing rigging configuration. Repairs and restoration that once seemed like opportunities and growing experiences, now felt like colossal chores on a boat that I loved but didn’t want to keep long term. At the end of the season I’d realized the Bristol wasn’t right for me beyond the shores of the lake and unbeknownst to her, I had fallen out of love with her lines.
I knew all I could afford on my pittance salary as a freelance journalist was another old fiberglass boat with the same array of issues, but I vowed to find a sailboat that seemed worth putting all of my time and energy into.
When I got the call that Vanupied was for sale I did a quick assessment of my finances, sold the Bristol for a song, and became the proud owner of what I’d always considered to be my number three favorite boat (falling just below the beloved Flicka 20 & Contessa 26) a Carl Alberg Pearson Ariel 26.
My friend told me about this reoccurring nightmare she was having. It was just a blank map, and she was in the middle of it. Think google maps, except there’s no roads, points of interest, or any landscape. It’s just a grid. It sounded horrifying.
When I first decided I wanted to buy a boat, that’s how I felt. I didn’t have a road map.
My grid is no longer blank, but it’s certainly blurred and unsteady. I thought I had my plans mapped out but the more I think about it the more I realize I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. Last night I tossed and turned over my ground tackle choices. I’d flip to the right and think 3/8″ line, and to the left, 1/2″ line.
Where I’m headed isn’s exactly a marine mecca, and I don’t know if I’ll have all the resources to obtain parts for my repairs. That’s why I decided to get things together early, before I head to the boat. But now I’m even second guessing that. Not being at the boat I’m unable to make measurements and truly assess the projects. I’m afraid I’ll get stuck in the boatyard for weeks, waiting the arrival of some simple fitting I couldn’t find in the store.
For the first time in this endeavor I’ve wished I had another person to share the load. Someone who could hold the anchor in place while I fit the roller on deck. The internet is proving to be an infinite source of knowledge, but when I arrive at the boat even that will no longer be accessible.
Today I bought an old inflatable dinghy for $100 from a very knowledgable do-it-yourself’er.
“I hope I meet people like you in the boatyard,” I said.
“I’m sure you will,” he replied with a smile.
I’m sure I will.
“Professor what kind of miracle is this? You should be careful just what you wish. For it comes at such a price…” -The Felice Brothers