If you're lucky enough to live to 100, the years between 50 & 75 are your third quarter. That segment in life could be the waning of your physically agile years, so it's a good idea to stay active. It's also a good time to challenge your brain to keep things limber up there - by mastering something new. We decided to go sailing, and this is a chronicle of our journey.


Cape Dory 36 & Robinhood 36 Sailboats

When Don and I talk to other boaters – especially all the folks we’re meeting online and in the Marina - people want to know what kind of boat we have.

Florian on the truck, arriving in Ventura, CA - and in her slip with Don
When we reply that she’s a Robinhood 36, just about every person exhibits that tilted-head-Huh?-look… “Never heard of ‘em.” When we explain she’s just like a Cape Dory, faces light up with familiarity, and they nod at us approvingly. (Especially the full keel & classic design affectionados.) 

Florian's roomy deck is perfect for one of our niece's to explore
 We wrote a little in this post about our experience with all the Cape Dory folks at Robinhood Marine.  The Robinhood 36 is pretty much the same boat as the Cape Dory 36 – glassed in the CD hull mold – but all of them were built after 1991, when Cape Dory morphed into Robinhood, so they are a teeny bit modified.  Here is a great page on the Cape Dory Owners Association site, reviewing the history of Cape Dory and the transition to Robinhood Marine.

Just after Don re-painted the Dorade cowls
As I understand it from Dave Perry, the toe rail and sheer line are slightly changed, and some of the crazing issues on Cape Dorys were addressed on Robinhoods, but that was more of a cosmetic issue and didn't affect the integrity of the decks. Some of the wiring and bones are a little modernized, but over all, Cape Dory 36 & Robinhood 36 are sisters.

Florian's galley the day she was lowered into Pacific water.
I sat and stared - marinating on the realization that we owned this beautiful boat.
 When Don and I were searching for a boat, we looked at a number of Cape Dory 36's, and I don't recall any overwhelming differences between our Robinhood and a Cape Dory. Same hull, same teak, same layout, built by the same hands – with the same plans, but in Maine instead of Massachusetts.

Photos I snapped of Florian the day she was moved from the truck to the water
I’d be curious to hear from other CD owners about differences – especially if you’ve got a 36. Check out some of our pics here and let us know if your boat is very different from ours.

Sitting on the v-berth, looking aft
Florian on the first weekend in her slip
On the truck - just arrived from Maine (April 2012).
Getting acquainted with [petting] her hull.  :)


Cleaning Vinyl Cockpit Cushions on a Sail Boat

The cockpit cushions on board s/v Florian, shortly after she
arrived in California
When we took delivery of Florian in April of this year, I knew she had awesome cockpit cushions, and they were in great shape. When we stay on board over the weekends, the first thing Don does in the mornings is wipe the moisture off the cushions with a terrycloth towel, so they're pretty clean. I noticed a couple of stains here and there, and some ball point pen streaks, and wondered if Mr Clean Magic erasers would work. Friends told me they do a great job on vinyl, plastic and formica, etc.
Mr Clean Magic Eraser pads... I heard from friends they work well,
but I'd never tried them till now.
I bought a box, and ran one of the pads under a little water, barely enough to fully absorb the pad, and started washing down the cushions this morning.

The pad after wiping about half of one cushion. Yowzers.
Before and after of a cockpit cushion after using Mr Clean.
The cockpit cushions still have a few stubborn, but lightened spots of ink,
and varnish drip spots, but over all, they look terrific.
I'm looking for any and all suggestions for cleaning and conditioning all parts of a sail boat, so if you've found something that works well, please share in the comments. The blogosphere has been an amazing resource of information, so I hope to share all of the tried and true (and not so true) approaches we discover.