Posts Tagged ‘Sailing’

Summer 2016

November 16, 2016

Well Labor Day has come and gone and so has Halloween, we pulled the fleet out of the water and started winter layup in September,  a little early this year so we could continue renovations on the cottage that the two tortoiseshell cats own.

First a word about sailing this summer; wind.

The summer of 2015 was a light air summer, as a result we got very good at setting and striking topsails. By contrast, this year we only set topsails twice all summer. We joined four other Friendships, a Marconi sloop and a lobster yacht for a two week cruise in July and never needed diesel, and never even topped up the main tank from our reserve tanks. It was a fantastic cruise with good company, good cheer, and great sailing.


Sailing in the company of Friendships.

Not only was there wind but also we were incredibly lucky in that we had predominantly fair winds. We had one rough day of high winds and big seas getting into Southwest Harbor on MDI. And there were two days on our cruise when the winds blew 25-30 kts, and not from a favorable direction, but we spent those two days tucked up snugly in a hurricane hole, hiking, reading, and relaxing, and those days proved to be among the most relaxing of the trip.


Moonrise in a hurricane hole.

We spent the last few days of our cruise in Rockland at the annual Friendship Sloop Homecoming and gathering.


Friendship sloops in Rockland 2016

We had a great time gathering with other Friendship sloop owners and fans in Rockland.


At the dock in Rockland, I don’t know why John is staying on the dock…

While we were in Rockland we also had a chance to take some of our extended family sailing. There were so many of them they had to come sailing in shifts.


Sailing with family…do I look worried?

After returning from our cruise we had another six weeks of weekend cruises, some of them extended weekend cruises, and great sailing.

The winds were so consistent and fair, that we did not get out to sail our tender, Fee-Fi nearly as often as last year since we never wanted to miss a chance to take out the Friendship.But even there, when the time came to pull Fee-Fi out of the water, we managed to sail to the take-out ramp in two long tacks, which was a delight since it is usually an hour of hard rowing.

Our lives have been so very full this last year or so that at times we wonder if it makes sense for us to dedicate so much of our time and energy to our wooden classic, but we saw so many beautiful boats, and old and new friends on the water and our summer was so rich an fulfilling that we mostly feel fortunate and grateful for what we have and what we are able to share.


New steering for the launch

August 5, 2014

We have been pretty happy with our Iain Oughtred designed launch, but now that we have sailed her for a couple of seasons we are trying to refine the few things we don’t like, or did not get right on the first go-round. One of those things was the tiller.

Initially I opted for a very traditional tiller. I liked the simplicity of the design and the classic look. However, what we found is that the traditional tiller had some traditional limitations due to how we use the boat. One has to do with sailing; if you are sailing the boat you need to push the tiller very far to port or starboard when tacking. This requires that the helmsman move his or her body all over the place just to tack the boat. This becomes even more problematic if you are single-handing because the excessive movement aft lifts the bow out of the water making the boat less able to windward.

The other issue has to do with taking passengers. The boat will comfortably hold five adults, except that anyone sitting aft has to deal with the sweep of the tiller and the dance of the helmsman.

None of this is totally unexpected, but it has become more annoying than we were prepared for.

What we ended up doing was to go back to the design source. 

Iain Oughtred has another design, the Caledonia Yawl, similar in size to the Penny Fee, with a push-pull tiller arrangement that frankly did not look that great to me on paper. However, I ran into a video of the tiller set up on Off Center Harbor and was totally swayed. I conceded (at least to my self) that it would not look as elegant and simple as the original tiller we had, but to my surprise, I found that the new design, while less classic, has a simple functionality that is also quite elegant.

Another advantage to the new system is that we made the tiller longer than the original so that if you are taking the boat out for a sail by yourself you can sit more forward, almost in the center of the boat which makes the boat balance beter.

It takes some getting used to and the instinct from long time sailors is still to move the tiller from side to side instead of fore and aft, but after taking it for a spin under sail and oar, I find that it is a really neat solution to our previous problems.

We had to come up with a way to lash the tiller when we leave the boat at the float, and that has not been a perfect solution, but we are working on it and that is a small wrinkle to work on.

Now I need to get back to work on the new sail. I am convinced that moving the center of effort aft, even a foot will create less drag in the rudder tacking and may gain us a few more degrees closer to the wind. We shall see.

August on the Water

August 30, 2010

August has been very busy for us on the water. We did a week long cruise to Mount Desert and Swan’s Island to check out the Sweet Chariot Music festival. Then on to two more cruises in the mid-coast of Maine, followed by some delightful sails on Lake Champlain.

We got to see family on MDI and schooners on Swan’s Island, and friends and family on multiple cruises and delightful sails on other beautiful boats as well as our own. The only down side is that we are worn out and I have not had time to add very much to this site. So I thought I would just post some pictures taken over the last month or six weeks….

Friendship Sloop Races

Fair weather or foul

One of my favorite shots

J&E Riggin


more fog

no fog

50th Gathering of Friendships

July 30, 2010

Last Thursday Friday and Saturday was the 50th gathering of the Friendship Sloop Society. The woman who will voluntarily get up in the middle of a stormy night and stand an anchor watch, Saxon, the ship’s wolf and I managed to get our boat first to Pulpit Harbor on North Haven Island for an informal rendezvous Tuesday night, and then to the docks in Rockland on Wednesday, fantastic to see so many members and so many boats, some I had never seen before.

Echo and company

Black Star, Gaivota, Hegira, and Banshee.



On any given day there were between 28 and 30 boats tied up at the Rockland docks. We saw so many old friends and made many new friends as well, it was worth getting together for that alone. There was racing on all three days, despite winds that were uneven and gusty. We participated in the first race, and even though we were trying to take up the rear where it was safer, we found the experience a bit overwhelming. So on the second day we went with three other boats on a short day cruise that was fantastic. Beautiful weather, great sailing, a beach to swim off of, and the comradeship of fellow friendship sloop sailors, the day was a delight. The third day we did go out for the parade of sail, but were frankly so worn out that we returned to the dock and got the boat squared away and socialized with other members of the Friendship Sloop Society and many of the interested visitors to the town docks in Rockland.

Gaivota and Gail O


Parade of sail

The awards dinner was terrific fun on Saturday night, and the fog lifted on Sunday long enough to see us on our way. So many beautiful boats, such welcoming people in such a relaxed atmosphere, we are already talking about next year.