Author Archives: admin

Warping the Boat

Warping is a way to move the boat.  in our case, docking it. Instead of complaining about that piling that is always in your way when you are docking, you use it to your advantage. This is particularly useful when the wind or current is working against you, or perhaps you have a shortage of crew or there are obstacles in front and behind you. We park our boat stern to on the dock, so we need to bring the boat right up to the piling, tie a line from our boat, amidship, wrap on piling and back to our boat, then use the piling as a pivot point . Reverse. The stern (back of the boat for you landlubbers) will have no choice but to move towards the dock and you can safely dock the boat.

Ok so, warping can also be done with an anchor, called kedging. You use a “kedge” anchor, but that isn’t the type of warping we have been doing, but you would throw the anchor out and use that as your pivot point.

Our slip in Olverson’s Marina in Lottsburg, Va is beautiful (and inexpensive taboot, $150/mo). We had an Osprey nest through July off our port bow (that’s left front, landlubbies), bald eagles flying just over the mast and now a very animated Great Blue Heron off starboard bow, The Heron looks like he flew straight out of the Jurassic Period, but here he is, long lanky squawky and awkwardly beautiful.

The slip is at the edge of the marina, so to the north is a spit of land that juts out. Which makes it a National Geographic moment every day, but also makes for tricky docking, because there just isn’t that much room to do it. When we took Whisper out in July, the wind was blowing us OFF the dock, and we were just a few feet too far out, and we grounded.

We have warped the boat a few times and it is getting easier.

We did make it to Virginia in our 1986 VW Westfalia van in 5 days in 8 states with a detour to see my awesome uncles in Kentucky. My uncles Frank and George are a bit of a legend in our family and Dave hadn’t spent much time with either (he had never met George) so I wanted him to have a chance to experience them in real life. Frankie gave us a tour of his farm, in Frankie style, in a 4WD vehicle, riding through creeks and telling us name of every plant and tree that grew out of the ground. George showed us his new fireplace mantle wall, that he himself hand carved every piece of limestone that he and his wife collected from around the globe. Frankie told us stories of yesteryear of the family and we laughed until late until the night. I feel so grateful to be able to call these two my relatives.

Our work started the day we arrived in Virginia.

We have had the bottom scraped and painted, the zincs replaced, the sails refurbished, the wood sanded (varnish is on it’s way), changed out all lights for LED lights, replaced the condenser fan in the fridge, replaced the propane tanks with refillable ones, fixed the nav lights, fixed the bilge pump switch, changed out porthole seals, rebedded the staysail pedestal, got a new dodger, got a bimini and replaced the mizzen sail cover, replaced the stereo, added and replaced broken fans, fixed the shower sump pump, fixed water system leaks, inspected chain plates, replaced mizzen shrouds, had a new staysail made, replaced salt water foot pump in the galley, sanitized the water tank, refurbished ice box pumpout pump, serviced winches, fixed the dinghy motor, installed second bilge pump, ordered new anchor chain, refurbished the compass, replaced cockpit speakers, replaced engine ignition switch, bought a swim ladder, fixed the engine alternator charging system, replaced the starter battery, replaced and installed the depth sounder, replaced the barometer… etc etc

In short, it has been like one long vacation.

Homeschooling has been enjoyable. It does take up a lot of time, but Ava seems to thrive on the “one on one” learning.

Today a local woman took us out on her fast boat to go kneeboarding and tubing. All day she kept saying, “We’re not in any hurry.”” That’s no problem, we’re not in any hurry.” ” Sure, we can, we’re not in any hurry.”

I love hearing that.  It is so much about what I want this year to be about, not being in a hurry, enjoying the moment.

And already, even in the face of all the projects we are in the middle of, I already feel the “be here now-ness” of our endeavor. Time does seem a bit suspended. Or warped.





Freshen the Nip

To “freshen the nip” means to take up or slacken a line to prevent it from wearing through, and to change the chafe to a different place. Everyday life chafes us in certain areas- getting through our long Nederland winter, the daily grind… and so, we are off on this adventure to freshen the nip!

Yesterday, we sailed out of Nederland on a broad reach in our 1986 VW westfalia van eastbound for Virginia.  For you landlubbers, a broad reach is when the wind comes across the aft quarter. We tried to take a picture of mile marker 420 in  Colorado, but as we came upon it, it looked like 419 again so I missed the shot. It is actually 419.99 as 420 must have kept going missing for some reason…

Spent the night at Wilson State Park in Kansas, thanks to our Kansas experts Jennie and Scott. We got in at 10pm on Saturday night of Labor Day weekend and scored a sweet spot overlooking the lake for $11. Good to be in a safe and comfortable spot for the night while on the road….highly recommended (but a little crowded this weekend).

Got a late start (lost a valuable hour with the time change from Colorado) at 11am with brutal 30 mph south winds on our beam. When sailing, we call this a beam reach and it is the fastest point of sail. But as we are essentially driving a refrigerator (with no sails) down the road, it’s  not really helping our Virginia or Bust cause.

Looking forward to some St Louis BBQ for dinner….20140831_145314


Shiver me Timbers!


We are moving on to a boat for the school year.  When?  Where?  Why?


3 Weeks and Counting:

Dave, Ava and I will be setting a course due east in our VW Westfalia Van to Virginia, where Whisper, our 1977 Shannon 38 awaits.


We don’t know where we are going. We have sailed this beauty 3 times and although she is dreamy and solid and safe and lovely, we are new to her and she is new to us. We are planning to sail the Chesapeake in September to get to know her and then head south. How far south? That is a good question.

Why? (3 part answer)

1) Why not?

2) It’s been talked about, dreamed about, and googled for years. And then Whisper showed up with all the right things: rig, look, and price being at the top of that list. When we dreamed of this, Dave knew I wouldn’t live on an ugly boat. I wanted a boat that looked like a classic wooden boat but fiberglass. We looked for about 5 years. Every boat that looks like a classic wooden boat that is fiberglass is way out of our price range. Except Whisper! We saw Whisper and fell in love. I did not want to fall in love. I wanted to say no. We plunged, our hearts pattered, more from sheer anxiety than excitement.

3) I want to simplify. You know when you spend days moving piles from one room to another- trying to organize, declutter and find stuff? I need a break from that. I want to have fewer things. I started with my clothes. I gave bags and bags away. We cleaned out books- you know, even those BOXES of books that are in your (fill in the blank- attic, basement, garage)? We gave 4 or 5 boxes of books away. We actually filled 5 VW vanloads of crap and hauled it off to the thrift store. GOOD RIDDANCE. I don’t even know what we got rid of.

I have 8 more boxes to go through before we leave if anyone wants to come over for a beer.