Summer Sailing

To all those building, or still contemplating building a PocketShip, and following the various blog out there, the thought must frequently come to mind, “what happens after the build is finished?”.  While building, you have frequent progress.  Add a new bulkhead, painted, etc.  Great!  Take a picture and add it to the blog!

Once you start the sailing phase, it is hard to come across a new photo.  Sure, you can post another photo of the same shot you’ve already posted a hundred times, off to the side with the boat and sail framing the shot.  And in the thrill of sailing, it seems totally new, and you keep taking pictures!  But once you look at them afterwards, it just looks like more of the same.  And since us non-super-literate boat builder blogs are really more about the photos than our intellectual writing, we really don’t have much to blog about anymore.

But sometime you have a sailing experience that just makes you feel totally alive again.  It has been a busy summer, with the whole house buying moving process of looking, negotiating, packing, moving, unpacking… you get the idea.  So the boat has been sitting idle a bit, and last weekend was hot and windy.  Just perfect for sailing.

Went out earlier in the summer, but one of those days where things just didn’t all go right.  For example, half the dock space was closed due to invasive species clean-up, making it  hard to launch and head back-in, etc.  This time though, everything just went smoothly.  Was relaxing, fun, and all done single handed.  As one of the earlier Pocketships launched, I had come up with my own way of raising the mast, docking, etc.  After watching John’s (from CLC) set-up video, I tried out some of his recommendations for the first time, and got to say, they really made it that much easier!   Partially encouraged from Jon’s launching without the use of the outboard, but really due to the fact that somehow the oil had drained out of the outboard during the winter, I also practiced without the use of the outboard.   Once you get the hang of it, it is so much more relaxing and pleasant not to deal with it.  It is now only the starting, but also the raising back up, closing off the vent cap, etc.  Even had to reef down a step – having the boat lean-to as he does in the video, worked out really well.

Anyhow, enough of this writing, here are some pictures.  Okay, one more thing… that shallow draft really comes in handy on this lake (Lake Independence, MN).   This allows you to sail around the island, in relative peace.  The keel did hit something once (first time I have ever heard it).  Heard a subtle hitting sound, accompanied by the sound of air passing through the hole the keel line runs through.  The keel lifted up, and dropped right back down, as intended.  Found a nice quiet area out of the wind, that led to some cool trails around the island, as well as some peaceful reading and music listening aboard.

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Winter Hibernation

While picking up my kayak from storage, I saw Garage Sail for the first time in over 6 months.  All winter long, during every blustery winter day, I wondered if that was the gust that will shred my cheap tarp and send the various ropes and bungee cords flapping away.

Alas, after all the worrying, it was just fine.  All intact, and only the thinnest of the bungee cords were stretched out.

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Of their many benefits, the cover’s main purpose to keep the sun’s rays from attaching the boat.  Just like missing an area of your shoulders with sunscreen, the cover had settled and pulled back from covering the upper end of the mast (again).  That area is now has a rough texture due to damage of the epoxy/protective varnish.  Wrapped some scrap sail cover material around the mast for now – got some epoxy repair in my future.

Now with May flying by it is time to get the sails back on and her out on the water!

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Boating in Minnesota

A few months ago we packed up and moved from southern CA to the greater Minneapolis area.   Took the opportunity for a road trip, 2K miles through some really cool desserts and mountainous scenery.


While a friend was towing my Garage Sail east through Nebraska, a cop pulled him over.  “Why you pull me over?” he asked.   It was because he had never seen a boat like it and he simply wanted to check it out.  One really annoyed friend, but seems a great story to me!  Despite the mileage, the boat survived just fine.  Amazingly clean actually, though a few flat surface had a nice layer of dead bugs that easily wiped off.

Lakes.  So many lakes here.  The first lake experience was a small lake around the corner with my older Mill Creek 15 – first time in years taking it out as MN certainly seems better suited for it than the Pacific Ocean.  Second time was on the St Croix River.   The concept of being able to kayak down 10+ miles of a calm (it keeps on going – that just where our car was), flat river while never having to even worry about dragging on the bottom just doesn’t seem possible coming from drought plagued California.

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Got the more spacious boat (all relative here) out a couple times to nearby Lake Independence.  The first time out I was worried, being Labor Day, that the lake would be chock full of motor boats going every which way.   Though there were plenty of boats, was not a problem at all.  Not to say that the boat doesn’t stand out here, with comments such as “so what do you do when you need to go back up wind?”, but still a great lake for an easy afternoon sail.    The next time out was with fellow pocketship builder Larry & his wife on another beautiful day with the start of some fall colors.



After the past few years of zoning out to the mention of boat “winterization”, I am finally taking notice.  Soon she’ll be all wrapped up for winter.




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