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.


Just sailing

Don raising the mainsail
Thankfully, many boat blogs share details of their repair and upgrade projects, exotic sailing locations, and variations on the art of sailing. We learn a lot from the sailing community through blogs, and we like to share our projects for the same reason - a sort of pay-it-forward. If we find a tip or trick to solve a problem on the boat, it seems like a good thing to share it here. 

But sometimes, you just want to sip your morning coffee and have a look at a boat on the water. Even if it's foggy and there's not that much to see. There's a peacefulness to sailing, so today, we're just sharing that.

Rest stop for the sea lions.
"Push over, Joe, you're being a real-estate-hog. Get your flipper off my head."

“hark, now hear the sailors cry, 
smell the sea, and feel the sky 
let your soul & spirit fly, into the mystic...”
---Van Morrison

5.4 knots - being pushed by the same air we're breathing.

In case you're wondering what the heck I'm doing with a hoody over my PFD, it was just for a few minutes to cut the chill. I promise to wear it under my PFD next time. (Can you tell, I've been finger wagged over this? Uh-huh.)

Sitting uphill. And the sun came out for a minute.

I spy an R for Robinhood

Heading back to shore, where everything hazy looks like a watercolor painting.
And that blue boat with the yellow SUP on her deck to the left is one of our slip neighbors.
Hi Rex!

At sea, I learned how little a person needs, not how much.
-  Robin Lee Graham

Back in her slip in time for clear skies and a sunset
Twenty years from now you will be more disppointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.
- Mark Twain


Buffering the Banging & a Strawberry Ginger Bourbon drink recipe

Dodging floating tree trunks after a storm in Kaneohe Bay, Oahu
 Sailboats move a lot on the water. There's the undulating roll of ocean swell and waves under the hull, and in monohulls (single hull, as opposed to something like a Catamaran), there's heeling. Depending on your points of sail, or angle in the wind, the boat leans over to one side. In a hard heel, it's sometimes referred to as "dipping the rails" because the lower side of the boat's deck rails submerge in the water.  Heeling looks great in sailing posters from afar, but it takes some getting used to on the boat. When boats bounce and lean and hobby-horse on the water, they make noise.

45 degrees of heel on a 39 ft Jeanneau sailboat
image courtesy of Sailboatcruise.ca

One of the benefits of sailing is shutting off the engine and letting the wind propel your boat. It's peaceful, very "green", and relatively quiet; and there's something enormously satisfying - and exhilarating - to feel the same air you're breathing fill your sails and push a 16000 pound boat through the water fast enough to leave a wake.

But down below deck, inside the boat, there's a lot of creaking, clattering and banging. Glassware, pots & pans, and tools bang together. Teak doors rattle in their frames. Unsecured pantry items slide & roll back and forth, banging into each other and the walls of the cupboards.

The creak and groan of the boat itself is something I find comforting, like she's singing to be moving on the water. But the clanking and banging of the supplies we've brought on board is bothersome. It feels like we haven't anticipated and planned for the ride very well, and the banging is tiresome - like a pile driver at your beach picnic.

Felt Bumpers with Adhesive backing

Maybe this is a leftover of growing up with a father who used to ask me, as a child passenger in the car with him, to climb over the front seat, into the back, and crane my ear toward the left corner of the rear windshield to see if I could identify exactly where that squeak was coming from, so he could address it when we got home from the grocery store. If so, I'm okay with that. I just know we can increase the joy, and dampen the barrage of banging on our boat with a few quick fixes.

Enter self adhesive felt bumpers. I use these on the back corners of the frames on my art to reduce marring walls, and inhibit the crooked hang. I order them on Amazon in 84-packs, so I brought a sheet to the boat, and used them to cushion the teak door frame to the head (bathroom). The door doesn't fit the frame snugly, so it rattles teak against teak. Several teak cupboard doors swing open and bounce against teak bulkheads, which also scars the wood, so I added a few here and there, and voila; soft little barely audible bumps when doors open under the sink, to the trash and in the head.

Felt bumpers every 6 inches inside the frame of the door to the head.

I lined all the cupboards and pantry shelves with this: Easy Liner Select Grip

If you live in a very hot & humid environment - be careful putting this stuff directly against teak, as I hear it can stick to surfaces after awhile & bond. I haven't used it against teak; my cupboards and cabinets are formica, and after a year of being loaded with pantry items and canned goods, my non-skid comes right up if I lift it. But - our temps are much cooler than, say, the Caribbean or the Florida Keys.

Basic measurements inside the cupboards, a pair of scissors and some non skid
No need to tack or tape it down, since the weight of dishes
 and canned goods hold it in place.
Rubber mouth, sealed plastic containers to cut down on weight & noise,
and in a square body to optimize space in very limited storage.

Excess strips of non-skid were sandwiched between cups & glasses,
or laid between stacked pots and pans to keep the sound of bumping & clattering down.

My friend Vicki sent me this recipe for Bourbon Strawberry Ginger cocktails
I've altered it to be more "boat friendly".   For tools, you'll need a
muddler, a measuring cup or wide mouth bowl, and a small sieve & ramekin.
Strawberry Ginger Bourbon garnished with mint
This makes two drinks: In a measuring cup or bowl, muddle 4 strawberries and 3 or 4 quarter sized, peeled disks of fresh ginger. Pour the thoroughly crushed mixture into a sieve over a ramekin and let the liquid sift through, helping it a little by pressing down gently with the back of a spoon or your muddler.

Back in the same, un-rinsed measuring cup or bowl, muddle 4 more strawberries and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Add the sifted ginger-strawberry liquid to the ingredients in the measuring cup. (Note: if you like little bits of raw ginger, skip the straining step, and just muddle the ginger, strawberries and sugar together.)

Press the juice of half a small lemon into the strawberry & ginger mixture. Roughly about 2 teaspoons.

Add 2-3 ounces of bourbon to the ingredients in the measuring cup. Stir and pour into glasses over ice. Top off with soda water, and garnish with fresh mint leaves.

fresh ginger
mint leaves
soda water

You can make these sweeter or not by altering the sugar to lemon ratio. They're incredibly fragrant, and very refreshing. A perfect sundowner on the boat. Cheers!