The Final Delivery…A New Owner; Bye Chamois.

In my ad for Chamois, I had mentioned something to the effect of “will deliver”. Funny how that became a sticky issue. My thought on that was: Once you buy the boat, I’ll deliver it for you if you want. Sounded like fun to me: An all expense paid final voyage aboard the Chamster. Well, that’s now how it worked out in the end, but never-the-less, I had a fun (read cold) trip delivering Chamois to Great Neck, NY for her new owner this week.

I had been watching the wind and weather for days… my new favorite site (think I mentioned this link before) showed favorable winds Sunday and Monday, but Tuesday’s forecast was 25-35kts from the Southwest i.e., “right on the nose” (a line that runs through my head often, from my favorite French Canadian sailor, Yves Gelinas). Initially, I figured well, I’ll get as far as I can by Monday night, and find myself a safe anchorage to hole up in for Tuesday, and just wait it out. Figured, if I did that, I might be in Great Neck by Wednesday, but more likely Thursday. Which meant we’d be closing the deal on Friday. I didn’t actually measure the distance, I just referred to my sail from Huntington to Martha’s Vineyard 10 months earlier which took 3 days… that was my benchmark.

Sunday was a cold morning, 25º actually. I had set my alarm for 0530, and awoke to a cold nose and visible breath. First things first, I fired up the kero stove and brushed my teeth. It was about 6:00 when I cast off the mooring line, and headed out of Vineyard Haven, the beginning of the end. It was a bright sunny day, and I wore long underwear, jeans, foulie bottom, 3 fleeces, foulie top, hat and gloves. I was warm enough while rigging lines, prepping for sea, and raising sails; but after that was done, and I settled into the routine I started to chill-out. Push-ups in the cockpit, squats and isometric shoulder exercises kept me warm for the duration.

I decided since it was not all that pleasurable being out in the cold, that I would maintain maximum speed. I instituted a new rule for this trip: If speed under sail alone fell below 5 kts, I would fire up the Yanmar, and motorsail at 5.5-6kts. I had 24 gallons of diesel aboard, more than enough to motor the entire way.

Motor sailing at nearly 6kts the majority of the day, I began to make some real progress. Block Island appeared at about 2pm – way to early to stop there I thought. So onward I pressed. I contemplated various anchorages… Montauk, Stonington, Greenpoint, Fishers Island. And I consulted Eldridge’s Tide and Pilot Book for the current predictions at The Race: the eastern end of Long Island Sound, where the current can run at up to 4 kts. I had a favorable current until 1900, and then again beginning at 0100. Certainly anchoring by 1900 was a good idea, as darkness, cold and a contrary current is one of my least favorite combinations. I decided to anchor on the North side of Fisher’s Island. Where I found a lee from the southerly wind, and an easy entrance/exit free of rocks and other obstacles.

With a belly full of pasta, bacon and salad, I set my alarm for 0300, in order to catch the majority of that favorable current, yet give myself 5-6 hrs of sleep ahead of another long day. But 0300 came all too soon, and in mid-dream of course. Never-the-less, I flew out of bed, excited to make the most of the favorable current. I hauled back on the cold wet chain, completely soaking my gloves, but the exercise kept me warm enough for the time being. I motored around the corner to a flashing disco waterway…. red flashes, white flashes, greens and yellows… The Race is rocky place, and the plethora of buoys, beacons and protective riff-raffs makes for exciting nightime naviguessing! I love navigating by Radar in situations like this, and find it far more useful than the GPS when coastal cruising at night or in fog, must be my visual/graphics obsession.

The wind was blowing nicely from the South at 0330, and I decided to set the main and jib. After setting the main with a single reef, I began hauling away on the jib. Oops, I fell backwards as the jib halyard became light all of a sudden… at the same time, the jib fell to the deck. Dammit! I guess in the darkness, I didn’t get the halyard on the jib properly, and she popped off. Well, can’t let the halyard swing around up there I thought, guess I’ll have to haul it to the top and find an alternate halyard to raise the jib with. Too bad the spinnaker halyard doesn’t go to the mast head. I ended up barber-hauling down the bottom two hanks of the jib, to make up for the lack of height on the “spinny-hally”… worked well enough under the conditions (motor sailing).

It was Monday, a cold, cloudy, rainy day. I kept the kero heater on all day, and took many body warming breaks down in the cabin. I was making good time again… 5.5kts plus. I began calculating my arrival, and it looked like I might actually make Great Neck by 2000. It would be dark, but the entrance is well marked and simple. This was exciting… I might actually beat the nasty winds forecasted for Tuesday!

At 1600, the fog, rain and cold had me wondering about carrying on. I was at Eatons Neck, the entrance to Huntington, my old stomping grounds! Todd Willis, Bob, my Aunt and Uncle and many other friends all live in Huntington… hmm, what a nice place to be I thought! Great Neck would be isolated, lonely and a dinghy ride to get ashore. I called Todd to see if I could grab a dock somewhere… he said “Sure C’mon in!” “Come left 90º Helmsman”, I ordered – and in we went. Mark (The Banditt) came down to catch my lines, and we were all secure alongside by 1730 – about 36 hrs from Vineyard Haven. A new record for the Chamster!

Robert Lifgren, the new owner came down to go over paperwork and systems on the boat on Tuesday. We closed on Chamois and retrieved the trailer on Wednesday. And today I brought Robert’s new Nor’sea, Chamois to Great Neck… where I said good bye to the old girl. I hopped on the LIRR to NYC and caught the Chinatown bus to Boston to meet Rosie, and here I sit in Rosie’s kitchen tapping away at 0253… boy, it’s definitely time for bed.

Here’s a video of the trip — screwed up the aspect ratio at the end… lame!! Youtube Video of Delivery to Long Island for New Owner

Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 2:01 am  Comments (11)  

Surfin Survey

Survey day on Chamois was a blast. It was blowing 20-25kts… and I had a great time surfing down the Lagoon towards the drawbridge, which I went thru under bare poles with a 15º heel…25kts on the beam… I thought  I might catch a gust and tap the far side of the road edge with my mast! It sure looked close in that narrow gap.

I felt like a fighter pilot landing on an aircraft carrier as I motored stoutly towards the travel lift with the wind on the beam again. “With this cross wind, he’s gunna be comin in a pretty hot”  the yard manager yelled to the Travel Lift Operator. They did a great job of “catching” Chamois in the slings at about 4 kts. It was the most fun I’ve ever had on a travel lift fer sure! Within seconds, I came to a halt, and swung back on the slings as my bow lifted from the water. I hastily shut down the Yanmar before she began sucking air. It all happened so fast.

Best comment by the surveyor was: “Boy, this little boat sure does have a lot of equipment!” Perhaps too much I replied! Where to put it all!? In hind sight, a bonneted jib would be a good idea on this wee boat. In the end, the survey proved Chamois’ excellence, and the buyer is moving ahead with the purchase.

Published in: on April 4, 2008 at 12:16 am  Leave a Comment  

Rigged and Ready to Go

With the help of my good friends and partners in minor misdemeanors – Rosie and Teresa, we got some new waterproof connections on the Radar cable… despite the near freezing temperatures and solder-chilling gusts to 20kts.

The following day, the mast went up with a hitch… yes, a minor snag.  About halfway up it got hard to crank the winch,  the mast had a bit of a bend in it, so we stopped raising. I took a look around and found the offending snag… the dangling backstay got caught on the lifeline up forward. Keep an eye on that pesky backstay!

The day after was a balmy 39º – perfect for  shakedown sail! Teresa and I left the comfort of the winter dock, made plans to motor through the drawbridge out of the Lagoon for a day sail, and then put Chamois on a mooring. We called the bridge tender and made arrangements for a 1115 bridge opening. All was a go-go, until the moment the bridge tender stopped traffic and told me to come ahead, as the bridge would be open by the time I got there… I throttled up and wathced the bridge closely for a sign of lifting… nothing…  I immediately felt that same frightening realization of Lando’s in ROTJ…

Lando Calrissian: We’ve gotta be able to get some kind of a reading on that shield, up or down.
Nien Nunb: [speaks in Sullustese]
Lando Calrissian: But how could they be jamming us if they don’t know… if we’re coming?
[over comlink]
Lando Calrissian: Break off the attack! The shield is still up!
Wedge Antilles: I get no reading. Are you sure?
Lando Calrissian: Pull up! All craft, pull up!
Admiral Ackbar: Take evasive action! Green group, stick close to holding section MV-7!
Mon Calamari: Admiral! We have enemy ships in sector 47!
Admiral Ackbar: It’s a trap!

Evidently, some work to the bridge or the road that was going on this winter had vibrated a  main powerline and when the bridge operator flipped the switch he lost a leg… or at least, that’s how they explained it to me. The next day was windy rainy and bitter cold, and I proceeded to get sick… and so the window of opportunity for a shake down sail closed slowly but surely.

But she’s ready for the survey and the delivery sail down to NY for her new owner.

Published in: on March 23, 2008 at 7:42 pm  Leave a Comment  


Recently, someone interested in Chamois referred to me as a blatant exhibitionist. Intriguing, I thought… never considered myself one. But I suppose with all this self-publishing: the videos, photos, the ramblings etc.; I do put myself on exhibit. Luckily the admission is free.

Speaking of exhibitionism, Chamois took her clothes off today – I mean her winter jacket. It’s a little premature, I’m forcing spring a wee bit. Mind over matter. Mast raising is planned tomorrow… forecast is for snow in the AM, then warming up to a balmy 38º… BURRRR-FECT! (I mean purrrr-fect). Always feels good to get out from underneath the brown bag cover. So bright down below now!

The survey is scheduled for sometime this week, pending the raising of the mast and the commissioning of all things Chamois. I’m planing a shakedown sail this week as well, because as it looks now, I will be delivering Chamois to her new owner on Long Island the following week. Hope it warms a bit in time for that trip!

I have not been pleased with this bottom paint. I’m actually surprised I have so much growth on the bottom. It appears to be primarily seaweed kinda stuff, but its pretty thick! I fired up the Yanmar yesterday and ran her in gear for a bit… you can see where the prop washed away some of the growth…kinda cute… at least it cleans off easily.

Published in: on March 15, 2008 at 11:02 pm  Comments (1)  

Survey Says… Go For It!

Well, there’s lots of work to do, many things to replace and repair… but the decks are OK, and that was my main concern. So I’m moving forward with this one. I’m thrilled… like a little school boy. A 14 year dream… coming to fruition. Hope to have her up here by May 1.

The survey was conducted by Mike Firestone, who I’d like to recommend to anyone looking for a yacht survey, especially a BCC. He was fantastic: thorough, knowledgable and really took the time to educate me about the boat. He went up the mast to inspect the rig, sounded the hull and decks, used a moisture meter, crawled into the far reaches of the engine room and bilges, and left no stone unturned. Worth every penny IMO.

One highlight of the survey was running aground at the mouth of the channel! There has been a dredge working the mouth of the channel for months now, but still the channel was silted in and very shallow. The water down there is thick and silty, you have no visual warning of water depth. Mike and I hung off the rail while Steven backed her down and we eventually got off… only to run aground again 10 feet further down the channel! Rinse and Repeat.

Published in: on March 8, 2008 at 6:27 pm  Comments (10)  
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Survey Says ???

I’m flying to TX tomorrow for a survey of my potential new BCC. Not 100% sure this is ‘the one’ however, because I suspect there might be some deck delamination on this boat. I will examine this further with the surveyor on Thursday and take his opinion into account as I move forward, or not. Unlike Chamois, this boat will need alot of work. She is 85% through a refit, but has been left untouched for a few years now and she shows it. So although I had initially planned to sail her home from TX, I have since changed my mind, due to the amount of work she will require to commission her properly. I submitted a bid request on for trucking this BCC home. That’s been an interesting find. I get a bid every few days. Prices are fairly consistent. I like the site/service so far.

Chamois is scheduled to have her winter cover off by March 15th, and mast raised in time for her pre-purchase survey. Speaking of which, Ed and Ellen Zacko have produced a mast raising video now available on their website. I was a little startled to see the price tag, I was expecting a home movie download thing. Their other DVD I have is excellent, and they go the distance with duplication, cover etc. No doubt a high quality, educational DVD worth having. I wish them fair winds as they continue their circumnav aboard Entr’acte. I hope to some day run into them along the way. I love their sails, and notice the main is flying free…. he calls it a light weather main, its only 2oz. or so. What a great idea!

Published in: on March 4, 2008 at 2:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

Snow In NH, Miss Chamois.

It’s been a much different winter then I expected. Living in NH with Dad. Beginning to feel like my life is on hold. Not my idea of a great place to be in the winter. Although I do enjoy skiing and winter sports,  I don’t make skiing a priority, usually my wallet persuades me not to go.

Next year I vow to head South. Where to go is the question. I’d like to find a place that Dad can go for the worst of the winter: Jan-March. Looks like there is a potential spot near North Palm Beach, where I could anchor and Dad could find an apt.

Another 8″ of snow fell last night… I think the total for the season is now above 90″.


Published in: on February 27, 2008 at 3:55 pm  Comments (3)  

There’s No Place Like Home

“Where have you been you… you…?!” Chamois exclaimed as I unzipped the starboard side door in the cover yesterday. She’s right, I’ve been a long time away. Time with my dad in NH. Pretty much since Christmas. “I’m sorry Chammy, Dad needs lovin’ up there. He’s lonely and has a tough time getting around.” But boy was a I glad to be home… she smelled so refreshing. The full moon had drained the harbor fully. A few sailboats on the adjacent dock were leaned over on their keels. But not Chamois… at only 3’10″… she was as happy as ‘a boat in water’. The low-tide-winter smell is divine. Ice on the harbor edges. Mist rising in the AM. Hard to beat the stillness of winter on a quiet harbor.

A fellow was standing at the dockside when I arrived back to Chamois after a great workout at Mansion House. We started chatting, and I invited him for a simple-casual dinner… rice and boily bags of Indian food. We enjoyed the warmth of the kero heater, and some s0-s0 food. He had some wicked good stories about his boat and his life aboard in Oak Bluffs: how he jury rigged a tiller out of a spark plug wrench and learned to sail without a tiller altogether… How he made it home from Connecticut on New Years Eve without a rudder… How he removed his disfunctional engine and in it’s place built a “wood stove” out of sheet metal and tin snips. He made my life sound down right luxurious and plush. As he told me more, I kept thinking to myself “damn I’m such a pussy… listen to this guy!”

It was a quick hello to Vineyard Haven. Time enough to empty my overflowing PO Box, go to the gym, check some email and get some sleep… I’m back with Dad in NH now. Can’t wait to get back to the Vineyard for some more time on the water with Chamois.

Published in: on January 23, 2008 at 10:23 pm  Comments (1)  

Je Vais Aller En France

I studied French for 6 yrs in school. It was always one of my favorite classes. I had great teachers. Mr. Pergolozzi, a very animated “Renaissance Man” as my mother always described him, was by far the best. He was an actor, and public speaker, et par conséquent a brilliant teacher. He captured your attention with even the most boring leçons de vocabulaire. He would ask you the meaning of a french word and while asking, toss a ball at you, to distract you. It was brilliant.

I grew rather fond of French, and developed the goal of being fluent one day. I had a french speaking friend in school avec qui je parlai beacoup de français. That helped further my skills and my desire to really learn french.After my trip to St. Martin, I was reminded of my forgotten dream of french fluency. Currently it’s alive and well. I am studying French everyday. I have CD’s in the car, on the Ipod, french films from Netflix, I read French blogs, and watch the French News daily. I bought some grammar books, a french-english dictionary, and a dual language book. There is also a very good free resource at for learning French which I frequent as well. I have been translating Trust lyrics, and downloading new french music, and I even found a french station on Sirius Radio.

I’m planning to sail to France. Not sure when yet, but I’d guess within the next 18 months. I’ve been thinking about doing the Canals. I’ll have to re-watch Ed and Ellen Zacko’s trip through the French Canals on their Nor’sea again. Perhaps I’ll follow in their wake.

Bon Année!

Published in: on January 1, 2008 at 1:10 pm  Comments (6)  

Chamster’s Brew, Fresh Oil & Antifreeze

Chamster’s Brewery is up and running again for the Christmas Season… been a small run this year, and we only brewed a light ginger beer this season. I was fortunate enough to be able to stop by the local brewery, The Offshore Ale House in Oak Bluffs, to pick up some liquid yeast, which they gave me for free… nice guys over there and great food. So the G.B. has a nice hint of real beer this year.

In between brewing and baking, I managed to get down and not so dirty with my Yanmar, and get her winterized: clean oil for her cylinders and fresh water and antifreeze for her cooling system. Draining the oil on Chamois is so easy. There is a petcock on the oil pan and a hose to drain the oil into a small bucket placed in the bilge. Oil filling is also a breeze with the cockpit access above the engine. My cooling system flush method consists of 3 gallons of fresh water (brought down in gallon jugs from the sink in the bathroom ashore) and <2 gallons of antifreeze… all sucked out of a bucket placed in the galley.

Published in: on December 21, 2007 at 10:21 am  Leave a Comment