Writing (Not) on Board

I’m trying something new. Yes, on the marketing advice of someone in the know, I’m trying to gear down to one blog. So, this appeared over on Sea Venture’s blog, and because a lovely friend commented, I don’t want to dump the post. But the content here would only duplicate another post, so I’ve edited a bit.

Sea Venture is slowly coming back together. Someday soon we’ll slide out of Beaufort and anchor someplace for a night or two. I can’t wait. . .




Back in the Water — Finally

Well, Sea Venture floats. Good to know. After they eased her into the water yesterday, Michael dashed below to check the bow thruster installation and the new coils of stuffing around the prop shaft. She’s been sitting on the hard, settling into an unflattering shape, so who knew what we’d find.

Good Sea Venture. A little water around her belly, and she sits up straight and proud. Her interior teak is going to be so happy now.

Of course, there’s much left to do. Scrubbing and cleaning and getting all systems back on line. Unloading the spare bedroom of SV’s gear and reloading some of it on board.

And then sanding and varnishing her brightwork. And polishing all that stainless.

The marina stuck us in a slip with a ten-foot finger pier, which means one has to climb up over the bow pulpit to get on board. Michael has gone off to turn her around, but he’s got a bounce in his step today because that bow thruster means he’s in control of the front end, and the wind isn’t. He said he might have some hair left on his head if we’d had the bow thruster way back when.

Dream on, Mr. Fischer. Besides, I like the way he looks, just as he is.

At least, I’ve almost finished varnishing the companionway doors. These were repaired and reworked in Mazatlan when we changed the entry, but they clean up well. Just need to get the hardware back on, and they’re good to go.

As soon as we can get back on board, Mama and I plan to work on the rest of the teak. Someone stopped by right after SV arrived from her marathon trip and said, “So glad to see you’re letting her go grey naturally.”  We smiled and didn’t mention that neglect at sea had let her discolor, not intention.

We all know how much harder we’ve got to work to maintain aging bodies. Put aging bodies to work on aging wood, and you’ll see a lot of lounging in between bouts of sanding.

It may take a while.

Guests at Sleepy Creek!

With Sea Venture still land-bound, we’re playing on little boats. Step-sister Misa and her beau, Rick, came from California to visit, and we took the motor boat out to Cape Lookout. Michael, poor darling, remained tied to big-boat repairs (with a launch date looming, there’s still much to finish), so I was the designated driver and tour guide. Unlike most summer weeks in coastal Carolina, this one gave us perfect weather: sunny days and an ocean breeze in the afternoon to keep us cool and the bugs inland.

Even my 84-year-old mama came along for the boat ride and a picnic at anchor. Misa and Rick ventured over to the ocean side of the cut, but kept their snorkeling for inside after a 10-foot black-tipped shark showed up in the shallows. I’m sorry they didn’t have a camera at hand.


Here are some pictures for the family album.

Cape Lookout Lighthouse from a bouncy boat

Misa was our boat photographer, so I don’t have any shots of her from the trip. But she did discover the origin of the tri-cornered hat: you notice that’s what mine has become, and Mama’s is working its way there.


Don’t you love our hats?

This isn’t particularly flattering of Mama, but it is of Rick. Mama was game for anything and was probably giving Rick the history of the area as we zoomed out Core Sound.


Mama and Rick on the way to the Cape
Rick, the ever smiling!


I’m so glad he agreed to come. He’s a mountain man, a climber as is Misa, but I think North Carolina now claims a piece of his heart.

A shrimper at anchor


Misa and Rick show their loving smiles


What a delightful pair: witty, warm, and just plain good company. We’d dined on shrimp and corn and kale, so we were a happy bunch.

And this last is from this morning, when we had to wave good-bye. Come again soon, folks. We love you.

saying goodbye in front of the little house


New Writing Blog, Lost Friends

It appears that, when I upgraded Writing on Board from WordPress.com to WordPress.org, I made both blog-post pictures and people vanish into cyberspace. If, by any chance, you were among those following my writing world at https://writingonboard.com, then I’d be grateful if you’d drop by again and hit Subscribe.

I apologize. Really. To you and to my time, which has been frittered away with design woes when it ought to have been spent either writing, editing, or varnishing Sea Venture’s companionway doors.


And thank you for bearing with my Internet woes.


I’m becoming suspicious (though not superstitious)

A few posts back, you read about our bow thruster/ shipment issues. Well, here’s round two of The Shipping Gremlins At Work.

Michael sent one of our Mermaid Marine air conditioners back to the factory for some warranty work. Those folk are professional, courteous, and dedicated to keeping customers happy. We recommend them and their products highly.

But shipping companies are a different matter. Mermaid packed the rejuvenated air-conditioner unit in dense foam with screws and a stabilizer board. The box had stickers pointing UP and declaring FRAGILE, DON”T STACK on every side. We wondered if the delivery driver could read when he set the carton so that the UP arrow pointed left.

As far as we can tell, the shipper either tossed the heavy box around or dropped it during loading or unloading. The screws had come all the way out of the plywood, the foam was distorted, and the unit damaged just enough that it’s bound to rattle during use.

What are we dealing with here? Mismanagement? Unhappy and uncaring employees? Or is Something Else trying to keep Sea Venture from sailing again?

You can understand why I ask.




Fading into Silence?

What does it mean when a cruiser’s sailing blog slips into silence?

Sometimes, the sailor is busy sailing. He can’t write, because he’s at sea. She doesn’t post, because she’s too busy living the seafaring life.

Wouldn’t it be jolly if that were my excuse?

Well, I’m sorry to say, silence reigns here because Sea Venture is still on the hard.

I know. Amazing.

But true. So, here’s the update. She looks terrible. The poor dear has her stuffing pulled out and her mizzen still off, and there’s dirt everywhere. Nothing is as dirty as a boatyard.

I’m hoping this is the storm before the calm. A mess on its way to clean. The beast about to become a beauty.


So, that’s why I’ve been silent. Not because we’ve been too busy sailing.

I will say that I’ve also been just a tad preoccupied with my writing.

Oh, didn’t you know that I write women’s fiction from a sailor’s perspective? I do. And my first Beaufort story will be released sometime toward the end of the year or the first of next year in both print and e-book format. You can keep track of that by coming by to say “Hey!” on Facebook. Or hanging out at the writing blog: Writing on Board

Looking forward to seeing you there!


New SSCA Cruising Station: Beaufort, NC

Now that Sea Venture and her crew are hanging around the Beaufort area more often than not, we’ve volunteered to become a cruising station for sailors wending their way north or south on the US East Coast.


If you don’t know about the Seven Seas Cruising Association, now’s the time to discover the benefits of membership. Michael and I joined while we were still in California, preparing Sea Venture for her adventure. We may have met some of you at the Oakland Boat Show when we manned the SSCA booth.

We had so much to learn. We’d come from years of coastal or dinghy sailing but had never done any real offshore cruising — certainly not with only ourselves in charge. What to take? How to outfit an ocean-going vessel? What about insurance? Anchoring? What equipment works best? What should we avoid? What about navigation, charts, radios? (Michael had these down, but yours truly? I could navigate from buoy to buoy, but that was it.) And then, my favorites: the adventure stories written by folk who’d been there, done that. We gleaned so much from the SSCA bulletins and from meeting SSCA cruising members.

It’s time to pass forward some of those blessings. No, we haven’t swallowed the anchor. We’ll still go cruising, especially when we need to hightail it out of the way of hurricanes, but we remember how wonderful it was to enter a strange port and find a friend or to have someone who’d been there point us in the right direction.

Beaufort is a lovely town, full of history and delightful folk. But it’s not the easiest place for provisioning or for catching a flight to elsewhere. So. When we’re here, we’ll try to help with that. Just give us a shout, preferably by email, and we’ll try to be there to catch your lines or offer what assistance we can.

Jot us a note at svseaventure at gmail dot com. We’ll be waiting to hear from you!

SSCA Website

Also, if any of you update your world on Facebook, come say hey at

Normandie on Facebook

The bow thruster arrived–and now there’s a recall

I must say, once the Lewmar head honcho in England got involved, folk jumped. We received the new motor within days (all the way from England) with only minimal damage. Do not, let me repeat, do not allow a vendor to ship something with any heft via UPS. We’ll fix this one ourselves, but really… And this one had been crated.

But, the day we received the motor, we got a recall notice for the part we’d already installed. Is someone trying to tell us something? Is this because we slid toward the dark side and are becoming a motor boat with auxiliary sails instead of a sailboat with an auxiliary engine?

Something to ponder.

More later.




Damaged Bow Thruster: Still Waiting….





As you see, the tunnel is in, the props (before they were primed or painted with anti-fouling) are set in place, and we’re ready for the new thruster motor to arrive to take the place of the damaged one above. I do hope we won’t have to warn folk not to use the marine supplier of said damaged thruster — who had told us it would be shipped by truck, but who tossed it into a flimsy box and sent it UPS. I hope that very soon the new thruster (first ordered on December 30) will arrive so that SV can get back in the water before that new bottom paint gets so old that we have to redo it.

If this isn’t an exercise in patience, I don’t know what is. Smiling here. Thinking happy thoughts. Glad Someone has our back. Glory!


While We’re on the Hard

We can’t quite believe that Sea Venture remains on the hard after the waterspout damage to the marina in June, but there she sits. She pouts a bit. She doesn’t like the inattention to her appearance. She’s feeling old and ill-used.

Michael reminds her that he’s trying and that as soon as she’s waterborne again, we’ll massage her brightwork and make her shine.

In the meantime, we’re installing a bow thruster. Yes, we’ve fallen that far. No longer do we proclaim that as real sailors we will rely solely on good seamanship to slither into marinas. Understand, please, that here I use the royal “we” because all graceful slithering has been the job of Captain Michael. I’m the lasso artist who tosses the line and grabs the cleat. No, we do not jump down onto docks in an attempt to maim ourselves.  Michael handles Sea Venture with professionalism, using skills perfected when he flew off aircraft carriers. He’s good. But sometimes the wind and the current force us to stay away from an unyielding dock, a trick we can’t employ as readily here as we could in our cruising days because good anchorages with enough deep water are few and far between. Here we’ll be motoring more as we travel up and down the ICW and will be staying in more marinas. We won’t have the luxury of waiting for the wind to die or the current to cooperate.

Hence, the new toy.


This is the tunnel. The thruster arrived damaged, so we’re awaiting a replacement. There’s always something. I should never have prayed for patience.