Catching Up with Caper, a Cabot 36

When we started this blog nearly five years ago, Margaret and I planned on buying a boat in three or four years. Quickly, we moved that time frame up and, before too long, began the search that resulted in us purchasing Bear. We chronicled that search in a series of posts that reviewed each boat we stepped aboard. Those early posts continue to get a lot of views – which always blows us away – through the long tail of Google, particularly the ones about boats that remained on the market. But none of those posts have been viewed as many times as the one on Caper, a Cabot 36 that we checked out in Indiantown, Florida. What’s more is that nearly a dozen folks have contacted us about Caper. Margaret and I have really enjoyed the way that Caper has momentarily popped back into our lives with these emails. And the stories that we have heard from people interested in Caper have given us added perspective on the cruising dreams that people harbor and the life of a capable, well-loved bluewater boat. Our experience with Caper came full circle after we left the Keys, when we stopped by Indiantown Marina to step aboard her once again as guests of her newest owners, Courtney and Jeremy. I will get to their story, but I wanted to share some of our earlier experiences with Caper first, so that you can better appreciate the boat through the eyes of those who have admired and sailed on her.
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The Florida Keys and Those Crazy Critters

Over New Year’s, Margaret and I spent a few days down in the Florida Keys, camping, snorkeling, and sampling as many bars as we could. While we were there, we managed to meet up with our friend Jonny, who is also known as one of Those Crazy Critters and probably by several dozen other monikers. I first met him when we had Bear on the hard in St. Mary’s, Georgia. As all yards seem to, St. Mary’s Boat Services brought together an interesting, varied group of folks. And one day Jonny came into the mix with his girlfriend on a twenty-two foot sailboat that they had bought sight unseen in South Carolina after answering a Craigslist ad from Chicago. Within a matter of hours, the two of them had ensconced themselves in the boatyard community and seemed like they had always been there.
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Our Adventures with Menhaden

As a kid, there were several summers when my buddy Steve and I were inveterate fishermen and crabbers, heading to the club docks with pole and trap whenever we were not out sailing. We’d fish for anything that we could catch – and we caught everything – with a few crab traps out as well. Our crab bait of choice was bunker, not yet having been indoctrinated into chicken necks as a nine or ten-year old. That experience with bunker – buying it out of the huge freezer at the bait and tackle shop, cutting it into thirds, and, as often as not, dissecting what was left – made me a lifelong fan of the fish, and I have become more and more obsessed – as I am with a lot of animals – with the lowly bunker.
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Looking Ahead to Boat Projects for Spring 2017

Last week, I mentioned that I will be heading out to Bear around April 1st to get a few projects done. In this post, I thought I would detail a few of the bigger projects that we are looking to accomplish over that month.

One of the first and most important things that I have to do is rebuild the anchor locker. When we purchased Bear three years ago, the surveyor pointed out a little rot in some of the boards that both divide our anchor locker (200 feet of chain on one side for our primary and 200 feet of line with a few feet of chain on the other for our secondary) and support the windlass motor. The rot at the time was relatively minor, but the surveyor indicated that it would not remain that way because the boards were simply painted plywood with the paint wearing off and water already penetrating the wood. This summer, I noticed that the boards were getting significantly more rotted; clearly, we cannot delay this project any longer.
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Back At It

For anyone who is reading this, thanks for sticking with us. We realize we have been neglecting the blog and failing to post regular videos on YouTube. But that is all going to change here in 2017 as Margaret and I have committed to prioritizing Return to Seasons and a number of other exciting projects we have in the works. What that means immediately is that you will see regular, weekly posts here on the blog, mainly coming from yours truly. And we – primarily Margaret – will be putting videos up on YouTube on a biweekly basis.
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Gifts for Sailors – A Dozen Salty Gifts for under $50

xmas present

It’s that time of the year again! Return to Seasons has another list to help you pick the perfect gift for the sailors you love!  Happy holidays!

1. Sailing Watch - this waterproof watch has wonderful features for your sailor including a countdown timer with beep signal, repeat and count-up, chronograph, stopwatch, dual time, alarm, and calendar.
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World Cruising Club ARC Caribbean 1500 Preliminary Report – Part Two

If you have not already, read part one of this report here.

Thursday, November 10

I awoke at 2:30am to a squall. Came on deck and helped reef the main and swap the genoa for the staysail. By the time we had things under control, winds were 20-22, but they had clearly peaked well above that (one boat near us would report 55 knot winds, though I do not think we saw more than 35). This turned out to be the beginnings of the weather associated with the low, and the winds continued to build through the night.
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World Cruising Club ARC Caribbean 1500 Preliminary Report – Part One

I will certainly elaborate on a number of aspects of the trip and share some things I learned in the coming days, but I wanted to get up a straightforward report of the rally as early as possible. Below you will find my brief notes on the first five days of the rally. I will post the second half of the report tomorrow.

Saturday, November 5

They moved the start date up a day to try to try to avoid a gale that was coming down from Nova Scotia. However, we knew we were still going to face some rough weather the first two days out as we crossed the Gulf Stream.
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A Cruising Guide to Essex, Connecticut

There are a lot of reasons to go to Essex, from its rich maritime history to its excellent birding and scenic beauty. But what first brought us to the Connecticut River town was more basic: current and storms. Leaving Port Jefferson and ultimately headed to Block, we were looking for a stopover so we would not have to fight the Long Island Sound currents. A front was also forecast to come through the next night, bringing wind and storms, so a snug anchorage would provide some comfort. With relatively few secure anchorages on either side of the Sound between Port Jeff and Block, Essex became our destination.

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Our Plans for the End of the Summer and Winter

Folks who have talked to us about our sailing plans over the past couple months know that we have been debating taking Bear south for the winter. In fact, we even discussed doing so the previous year. Of course, we left her on the hard in Rock Hall last winter and came to regret it while we were spending a lovely five weeks in Florida over the new year that we knew could have been even more exciting over in the Bahamas.
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