Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Boatsmith's Ariki 48 Nearing Completion

My friend, David Halladay, of Boatsmith, Inc., has just posted an update of the nearly-finished custom Wharram Ariki 48 he and his crew have been building in West Palm Beach.  It shouldn't be long now until launch:

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Giveaway: The Sequel to The Pulse

Time marches on and it seems hard to believe that it's been over two years since my first novel, The Pulse was published in the summer of 2012.  I posted about it here before it was released because although it is a work of dsytopian fiction, most of the story involved sailing a long and dangerous passage with no electronic instruments or aids to navigation in the wake of a solar flare that shuts down the power grid:


The Pulse was a big success when it was released in 2012, for awhile getting into the top 300 books on Amazon, and I wanted to immediately write the sequel because I ended the first book with a sequel and even a series in mind.  Working with a publisher can prove incredibly frustrating though, as in their infinite wisdom they delayed offering me a contract for the sequel for more than a year and instead insisted I do a parallel story for young adults set in the same world.  While The Darkness After was also a fun project to write and was a success as well, that story did not involve sailing and the publication schedule delayed the writing of the sequel to The Pulse much longer than I would have liked.  But finally, the book was completed earlier this year and Refuge After the Collapse has now been printed will be available on or before September 23.  The story picks up with Larry Drager, anchored in the remote Honey Island Swamp near New Orleans in his big Wharram catamaran.  I hope those of you who read and enjoyed the first book will check it out and I apologize for the long delay.  This won't happen again as I calling all the shots with my book publishing from this point forward.

I wanted to post this to Scott's Boat Pages today in order to give readers of this blog who may not follow my other sites an opportunity to enter a book giveaway for Refuge that will end around the 23rd.  The giveaway is for 10 signed copies to be mailed to the winners, and all you have to do to enter is sign up for my opt-in newsletter by entering your first name and email address in the form linked below.  Your email address won't be shared and you won't get a bunch of junk email from me, only the occasional book giveaway or new release announcement like this one.  After you enter by submitting the form, be sure and check your inbox and spam folders for the confirmation email, because if you don't click on it to opt in, you won't be officially entered:

If this link doesn't work for some reason, you can also find the signup form under the Newsletter tab in the menu at the top of this page. I'm currently working on another novel about cruising on a sailboat and I'll look forward to keeping my newsletter readers informed about the upcoming release that will be happening later this year.  

Living the Life on 28 Feet

This video portraying a single hander's life aboard a 28-foot wooden sailboat has been making the rounds on the various forums such as Sailing Anarchy.  If you haven't seen it, it's well worth the watch, not only for the story but the quality of the production and the photography.

The Pros and Cons of Living On A Sailboat in the Caribbean

David Welsford doesn't pay rent or have a full time job. Instead, he lives on a 50-year-old wooden boat. A few years ago, he gave up the luxuries of land for life alone in the sea. "For me, what's more important than having a big house is having a space that makes me feel good," he says.

This short documentary explores Welsford's unique, maritime lifestyle, and the sacrifices that arise along the way -- from romantic relationships to finances. "There's always a way to make money. There's always a way to live," Welsford says. "If I have enough to go and have a beer and I have enough to go to the grocery store, if I can put enough diesel in the tanks of the boat, then I think I'm one of the richest people in the world."


Friday, August 1, 2014

How NOT to do a kayak trip in Virgin Islands

When I published my trip narrative, On Island Time back in 2005, in the back of my mind it occurred to me that some would-be adventurer with the same determination I had at age 25 might be inspired by the book to set out on some life-threatening adventure and go missing or worse. I wondered if I could be sued by the family, but then put such worries aside when I realized that most likely, the odds of such a thing happening were slim, considering the limited distribution the book would get, published by a small university press in Mississippi.

But out of the blue one day, I got an email from of all places, Kansas.  Scott Finazzo, a professional firefighter there, had received my book as a gift from his wife, and the wheels began turning.  Already infatuated with the Virgin Islands from a trip there as a tourist, Finazzo was now inspired to paddle there.  No, he wasn't planning to try and paddle to the islands from Kansas, but he did plan to island hop among them, getting far off the beaten path in both the U.S. and British Virgin Islands.  The thing is, he had zero seat time in sea kayaks, not even a day trip on a Midwestern lake or river.  He also quickly realized it would cost too much to ship hardshell touring kayaks there, no outfitters in the islands rented appropriate boats for his proposed trip, and buying an expensive folding kayak such as a Feathercraft was way out of the budget.  Not to be deterred by such minor inconveniences, he enlisted two of his firefighter buddies as co-conspirators in the adventure.  One of them suggested building the boats for the job, so under his guidance an after-hours boatbuilding project was began in a suburban garage in Kansas.

There were so many setbacks and delays that the glue binding the fabric on the skin-on-frame kayaks was literally drying on the plane ride down island.  The boats were completely untested until they were assembled on a Caribbean beach for first time.  These guys didn't even know how to get in a sea kayak before they began!  Finazzo describes one such entry in this typically hilarious passage in his book: 'While still nestled firmly in the sand of Brewer's Bay, Eric squeezed, jostled, and cussed himself into his kayak.  The boat rocked side-to-side as he kicked his linebacker legs into position.  Once in place, he quickly scooted his ass forward and backwards a few times like a dog on the living room carpet. He successfully lodged himself in and gave me a nod affirming he was ready to go.'

Finazzo describes this whole adventure in a way that is both entertaining and informative.  He later enlisted my advice on writing and recently completed his book about the trip: Why Do All The Locals Think We're Crazy?  Three Men, Three Kayaks, The Caribbean, and One Bad Idea.  The book is available now on Amazon in both paperback and ebook formats, and is a read I highly recommend.  Yours truly even wrote the forward!  Finazzo and I have long since become good friends since that first email out of the blue, coauthoring The Prepper's Workbook for Ulysses Press earlier this year and last year sailing together across the Gulf of Mexico to bring my Cape Dory 27 home to Biloxi.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Reuel Parker Egret 31.5 Sharpie Build Blog

During my most recent visit with Reuel Parker, which has now been a little over a year ago but certainly doesn't seem like it, Reuel gave me the study plans for an enlarged Egret-styled sharpie.  Based on the original 28-footer made famous by Commodore Munroe in Florida, this 31.5-foot version offers much better cruising accommodations, although like all sharpies, still minimal for it's size.  Reuel said it was the most boat that could be built for the money and pointed out that it would be quick to build, trailerable and yet capable of crossing the Gulf Stream and exploring skinny water off the beaten track, like the Bights of Andros, one of his favorite places in the Bahamas to hang out.

I was intrigued, but not ready to start another boat building project so soon after selling my Wharram Tiki 26.  In fact, the reason I was in Reuel's neck of the woods in Florida was to inspect a Liberty 28  Cutter that was offered by a brokerage nearby.  I didn't make an offer on the Liberty, and ended up buying my Cape Dory 27 several months later, but I've pulled out those Egret study plans more than a time or two.  I kept hoping someone would build one, and now it is happening.  A Google search of the design turned up Dennis Woodriff's build blog, started in 2013.  Building in Virginia, he made rapid progress until winter and a move put him on temporary hold.  The hull has been built and turned and he is now finishing the interior, deck and house structures:

I got in touch and learned that Dennis has extensive sailing experience and plans more big adventures when he launches his new Egret sharpie.  I'm anxiously awaiting the continuation of the build, and I'm betting that once the weather improves we won't have to wait long to see this new Parker design launched.

For more on the Egret 31.5, the description of the design is available on Reuel Parker's site here.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Columbus Ship Replicas During Biloxi Stopover

Considered to be the closest replicas to the real thing ever built, the Niña and Pinta Columbus ships operated by The Columbus Foundation of the British Virgin Islands were docked in Biloxi most of last month.  Built in the traditional way in Brazil, both of these ships are full of authentic details on deck, despite the hidden engines and more modern crew accommodations down below.

The Pinta replica is larger than the original, but the Niña is historically accurate, at 65 feet on deck with an 18 foot beam and 7 foot draft.  This is the Niña below:

View of the Pinta from on board the Niña:

The Pinta on deck:

The Niña in profile with Deer Island in the background, just across Biloxi harbor:

More about these ships can be found on the The Columbus Foundation website here.  After leaving Biloxi they were scheduled to haul out for maintenance at Landry Boatworks,  Bayou la Batre, Alabama.  The next port where they will be open for visitors is Ft. Walton Beach, Florida.
"A boat is freedom, not just a way to reach a goal."
Bernard Moitessier - A Sea Vagabond's World


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