Sailfeed
July 23rd
Amy: Girls, they are going to be here in half an hour.  I need you to tidy up the cockpit.
Indy: Who?
Amy: Those people… Dave’s friends. Like we talked about at breakfast? It doesn’t matter. Just tidy up.
Indy & Stylish: Okay, Mom.
Papillon: Hee hee hee.
Amy: Why are you laughing?  Let’s see, I need to cut up some baguette–
Papillon: I have a surprise for you.
Amy: What? No. No surprises. I have an unknown quantity of Kiwis arriving in thirty minutes.  I have to finish getting ready.
[pause]
Amy: What is that dripping noise?
Papillon: Chortle!
Amy: Girls!…
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August 16th

Superfluous Adults

Posted by // August 16, 2013 // COMMENT (1 Comment)

Cruising, ,

I spent a lot of my childhood with my siblings down the ravine behind our house.  In summer, we found salamanders under rocks and built dams across the foot-deep stream.  In the winter, we slogged our way down the snowy slope to crack through the ice and always came home with wet snowpants.  And while my mom knew where we were, she was hardly lurking behind every tree.

Solving fractions and finding popcorn words.

So I kind of feel bad for my kids.  Living aboard means we get to spend a lot of fun time together, but it also means that they have a tough job escaping us. …

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June 17th

Should We Worry About the Youth of Today?

Posted by // June 17, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, , ,

Summer 2010 – lemonade
Summer 2013 – handwashing

Last night was Family Movie Night.  We don’t do it often, but Grannie had taken a stroll through the local used DVD emporium, and sent us Ghostbusters as part of a care package.  And who can say no to that?

As the film started and books started floating through the library, Indy pasted herself to my side and Erik and I shared a look.  I suddenly remembered that a few of the ghosts in the film were pretty scary.  I had misgivings; I did not want to induce a Gremlins reaction.


I come from a family of four kids. …

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June 9th

The Ninja Sailor

Posted by // June 9, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,


Stylish descended the companionway, muttering to herself.  “Lanacote, small brush, Lanacote, small brush…”
“Everything okay?”
She glanced up at me as she started rooting through the drawers in the nav desk.  “I had to pass Dad to get up the ladder.”
There are many obvious skills one needs to cultivate to live aboard.  Good seamanship.  Knots.  Basic weather analysis.  But a successful crewmember must also learn secret talents you will never find mentioned in any manual on seafaring.
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May 5th

What Do You Do All Day?

Posted by // May 5, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising,

This is one of the most common questions I get from land folks.  It is usually accompanied by a wide-eyed look and a shake of the head, as though we wake up every morning in our floating prison cell, wondering how to fill the dark and heavy hours until lights-out.

Never.  Erik and I wake up every day, roll over, say good morning, and wonder, “What is going to break today?”  There are few things you can count on in this world, my friends, but I can promise you this: on a boat, there is always something advancing along the ‘breaking’ continuum. …

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April 18th

A Fork In The Road

Posted by // April 18, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising,

The Papillon crew is a family divided at the moment.  While the girls and I visit long-lost friends and relatives, Erik is on the boat, hard at work welding fuel tanks and replacing swage fittings.  It is a little disconcerting to be so far apart after 2.5 years of togetherness.  The girls and I miss him.  But I also worry.  Because I get emails like this:

Subject: Think I just bought a car…


Of course, the car turned out to be free, but why put that in the subject line when you can give your wife a heart attack instead?

But, leaving hard-working husbands to their own devices, it has been fun to be “home” again – although, as Indy tells everyone, this is not home – she lives on a boat. …

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April 3rd

War On Corrosion

Posted by // April 3, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

,

 
My can opener didn’t always have vice grips attached.  Once upon a time, it had a plastic handle.  And then one day last December, the handle simply fell off.  The plastic hadn’t broken – the metal underneath had rusted away.  And so, in fine cruiser fashion, I improvised.
Not to be cranky, but metal on a boat is a pain in the neck.  If it is metal, it will corrode.  Unless I build everything out of Platinum, the salt water is going to get to it eventually.
Our hull is made of Aluminum.  That’s great if you plan to ram into a tree trunk and not sink, but it has a downside: our hull wants to be a battery.  In the galvanic series for stagnant saltwater, Aluminum sits at position number 34 of 39.  That means that, in salt water at least, Aluminum is a giver.  Aluminum acts as a sacrificial anode for the 33 metals sitting above it on the list.  And guess what?  I don’t want my hull to be so generous.  Keep your electrons, I say!  Don’t accept that current!  Only Uranium, Cadmium, Beryllium, Zinc and Magnesium sit down below Aluminum.  And as I somehow don’t fancy bolting a bunch of Uranium to my hull, I guess we’ll just have to keep replacing our Zincs as they disappear into the salty blue.…
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March 31st

Singing in the Rain

Posted by // March 31, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

Rainy days are always a treat on board.  Well, okay.  Rainy days in the tropics are a treat,because it is warm outside.  Rainy days in, oh, I don’t know, New Zealand, when it’s Christmas and it’s freezing and your in-laws are visiting and a gale is blowing and the anchorage is too bumpy to take the dinghy to land and you’re all stuck below decks for five days and all you do is cook and peel excited children off the ceiling and cook and brew more tea and cook and cook… those days aren’t my number one choice.  But warm + rainy = fun.…

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March 20th

One of the more common questions I get about life aboard is, “How do you make it all fit?”  That’s easy.  Step one: prioritize.  We follow a simple space allocation formula on Papillon.  I’ll draw you a pie chart.

A place for everything, and everything in its place.  Provided it is boat related, otherwise it’s out.

As I am (loudly) reminded every time we run out of something, I am the Provisioning Officer aboard.  We have lots of locker space so dry goods don’t present an issue, but I did used to think my fridge and freezer were too small.  But when we were in Cartagena, Erik ripped them out and made them even smaller! …

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March 16th

What’s Cookin’?

Posted by // March 16, 2013 // COMMENT (0 Comments)

Cruising, ,

 
The trouble with feeding a family is that it is relentless.  It can be fun to prepare a good meal – chopping vegetables, sniffing at the pot bubbling on the stove, watching everyone’s smiling face as they dig in.  And then, zip! it’s gone, you have a stack of dirty dishes in the sink and, four hours later, everyone is hungry again.  But the fact is, whether cooking is satisying or not, we all need to eat.  Even I can’t survive on crackers and cheese forever.
I have run the gamut on kitchens from Well-Equipped Western World Standard to Fire On Beach. …
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