Tuesday, March 30, 2010


From the appearance of this blog, you'd think I've been slacking. Once you find out where I've been, you'll still think so.

Chip and I spent the last week at the Palm Beach International Boat Show in Florida. While it's not unusual for the two of us to loiter at boat shows, we're rarely spotted at those with luxury yachts and sportfishing boats -- no sailboats.

As you've read here before, I handle the marketing and advertising for Bayliss Boatworks, builder of amazing, custom sportfishing boats. We introduced the newest member of the fleet at the Palm Beach boat show.

The boat, Uno Mas, was greeted with open arms including a listing as one of the "ones to watch" in the show newsletter and a mention and photo in the Palm Beach Post.

We were delighted and humbled by the level of buzz and a jam-packed boarding schedule -- all four days. I knew the boat was spectacular. It was gratifying to see that everyone else thinks so too.

Some quotes from those fortunate enough to get a tour:

"I'm gonna go home and sink my boat!" This from a gentleman 60 days from completion of his custom boat.

"In 30 years of being on and around fishing boats, I've never seen one with this kind of attention to detail."

"I'm speechless. There's nothing to say."

Sunday, March 21, 2010


2010 marks the first year in 15 that I haven't had some small patch of earth to claim as my own, the first that I haven't indulged that springtime urge to peel back the still cool sod, to breath in that musty, primal aroma, to plunge my hands into the deep pulsing rhythm of our planet.

But there are things that must be traded for life on the water. Dirt would be one of those things. Cute leather boots would be another, but that's a topic for another day.

Last week I was walking into Ace Hardware, past the rack of pansies. The smell of potting soil wafted by and gripped me with a sense of nostalgia and sadness that I wouldn't be planting a garden.

A few days later I was walking into Home Depot, past the bags of grass seed and fertilizer. The smell of chemicals wafted by and filled me with elation that I wouldn't be burdened with a lawn this year.

I'm so fickle.

Monday, March 8, 2010


We did not expect to gain new friends when we bought our cruising boat nor did we plan to gain more when we sold Isabella. And yet...

Our first hint that we might have a common bond with Suzanne and Pete was when they drove up in the car on the right, and Chip drove up in the car on the left.

The four of us spent a warm, springlike day on Isabella, working together to pass her from one hand to the next, a farewell and a maiden voyage in one.

Suzanne and Pete plan to take Isabella south to Beaufort -- one of our favorite ports in North Carolina -- to live aboard and sail her on weekends with their kids and grandkids.

"Are you sad?" Suzanne asked, just as I had asked Nancy about our new boat Good Company.

Of course, I'm sad, but at the same time I'm so happy that she's going to people who will honor her -- and sail her.

I've already written an Ode to Isabella, and now I can only repeat:
She will surely sail away with a new owner on water mingled with my tears, tears of sadness that she sails without us, tears of hope that she will always sail on fair winds and kind seas.
We have not told Isabella goodbye yet. Pete and Suzanne will be here to take her south in April. Until then, even though we do not own her, we're still on watch. 

Saturday, March 6, 2010


Sailboat maintenance is a life of quiet desperation. Actually, it's not all that quiet. There's a lot of cursing. It's day after day of tedious, solitary work that doesn't just seem endless. It is endless.

The only fuel that can sustain that kind of work is altruism itself. You have to do it for the greater good, because there just ain't no glory in it.

Sure you hope your work will pay off when you sell the boat, but your deepest hope is that all that boat karma is gonna come back around in your next boat -- and not just in the next life!

In a typical twist of our ever-strange lives, in January both of our boats got surveyed on the same day: Isabella, the boat we were selling, and Good Company, the boat we were buying.

The surveyor told Chip that Isabella was in awesome condition, especially for being 30 years old. He fawned over the teak and complimented the engine.

While this was amazingly gratifying and humbling, it was what we heard from Good Company's surveyor that brought it all around.

"That's a clean boat, obviously well taken care of." He told us it was in remarkable condition and the fix list would be very short.

A beautiful set of karmic parentheses.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010


We found a parking spot! A little visit with Dockmaster Carl scored us a SPACE at the Manteo Waterfront.

We might have to move around a little when sailing clubs come through, but that's okay, we have a place to live on Good Company!

We're looking forward to being on the Manteo Waterfront for a while, with restaurants and shops, a bookstore and a coffee shop in walking distance.

And with the weather warming up, we're shooting for the first week of April to bring Good Company south. It will be a four-day trip -- at least. Our first adventure.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010


Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes. --Henry David Thoreau, Walden
My land wardrobe reflects the fact that I'm anti-athletic. Like for instance my career as a softball player, which lasted one game, a game where I pitched. They called the game when my team fell behind 27-0 -- in the second inning.

Then there was the time I ran a 1K (yes, one K, one half of a mile), a benefit for the Special Olympics where seemingly "normal" people ran alongside the "special" athletes. About midway through the course, I was passing a Special Olympian who seemed to be struggling, so I ran along with him trying to assist. He did fine. I fell and sprained my ankle. I felt very special.

So, since I haven't been all that sporty, I'm completely sartorially ill-prepared for this new sport. Especially since Chip and I have taken a vow not to dress like typical cruisers, who are notorious for dressing poorly, in tacky, wrinkled clothing.

However, when you look at the closet space on a sailboat, you start to understand that wrinkled clothing thing -- and even the temptation (necessity?) of going clothing-free. 

This is my closet in the new boat. And, yes, that's a tissue box for scale.

In preparation to move aboard, I've been scouring the internet for quick-dry, wrinkle-resistant clothes, waterproof jackets, UV protected fabrics. I've been ordering from online stores intended for hikers, mountain climbers and surfers.

Thus, I'm slowly piecing together a wardrobe for hiking the deck as we surf mountainous waves.

I've always said, what you lack in substance must be made up with style.