Replacing the Chainplates: Now or Later

It is nearly 9pm on Monday evening, and I just made it back to the boat after flying in from Peoria. My flights were not too bad, especially because I got a first class seat for the last leg into Jacksonville after I got bumped off my earlier flight. Bear seems to be in fine shape after spending the last couple days by her lonesome. I, on the other hand, am feeling ambivalent, missing Margaret, but excited about getting some work done here on the boat.

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.36.57 PM

A couple of the chainplates on the nav station, with beer (Sierra Nevada Torpedo and water)

Screen Shot 2015-03-02 at 9.37.19 PM

Our forward port chainplate before disassembly and removal

Margaret and I spent a bit of time over the weekend talking about what still needed to be accomplished before we splash in May and what we can hold off on until next winter. Amongst the jobs we discussed, nothing loomed larger than replacing the chainplates.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Jeff's Blog | 2 Comments

Cruising with the Grateful Dead

You might ask how you fit the Grateful Dead, cruising, and computer programming together. Well, I am going to do it in this post.


First off, the Grateful Dead: I have been working on a new website that I would like to invite you all to check out, Grateful Dead of the Day. Each day, I choose what I consider to be the best Grateful Dead show from that day in history, provide a write up about the music, the venue, and the history of the band, and provide a player so that readers can stream the show for themselves. Come back often, like it on Facebook below, and please pass along the address – – to any Deadheads you might know.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Jeff's Blog | 2 Comments

Our Second Day at the Miami Boat Show – Jimmy Cornell and more free rum

Sunday was another beautiful day in Miami, just slightly warmer than the day before. My Dad and I got to the boat show in the mid-morning, parking again down by Bayside and the Strictly Sail area. After arriving, we quickly popped into the Strictly Sail tent to sign up for a free subscription to Blue Water Sailing Magazine, which I had forgotten to do the day before. Every time Margaret and I go to a boat show, we always make sure we “renew” our subscriptions to Blue Water and Cruising World. So far, I think we have been receiving both magazines for free for the past three years.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Jeff's Blog | 1 Comment

Some Thoughts after the First Day of the Miami Boat Show

After hauling down from Illinois to Florida and picking up my Dad near Charlotte Harbor, the two of us rolled into the Miami Boat Show around 2pm today. We started off at the Strictly Sail portion of the show, casing the vendors who were set up under a large tent at the Bayside Marketplace, a great outdoor mall fronting the water in downtown. After moving through that area, we headed over to the main show at the Miami Beach Convention Center. Finally, we returned to Bayside, both tuckered out, and got ourselves some dinner before leaving for our hotel by the international airport.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Jeff's Blog | 1 Comment

14 Valentine’s Day Gifts For Sailors


Looking for something sweet to get your favorite sailor for Valentine’s Day? Check out this list of 14 thoughtful AND useful gifts that will make your honey feel loved! I know that I would prefer ANY of these gifts to a box of drugstore chocolates or wilting flowers. If you want to make a subtle hint, leave this open on your desktop 🙂

Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Margaret's Blog | 2 Comments

Sewing for the Boat – Cockpit Cushion Video Project Part 2

Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 10.50.05 PM

A short post today just to let you know I have put up the third and fourth videos in the Sewing Cockpit Cushions series. You can check them out here:

Sewing Cockpit Cushions Part Three

Sewing Cockpit Cushions Part Four

I have made some progress (and mistakes) and I am learning a lot along the way!

Posted in Home Page, Margaret's Blog | Leave a comment

Sewing for the Boat – Cockpit Cushion Project Videos

Screen Shot 2015-01-25 at 7.45.12 PM

I have begun making the cockpit cushions and have put up two short videos on our YouTube Channel. You can check them out here:

Cockpit Cushions Part One – In this video I talk about making patterns for the cushion covers and begin cutting out fabric for the custom piping.

Cockpit Cushions Part Two – In this video I discuss the problems I had with my first piping covering measurements, show how to join together the piping strips, and show how I use binding tape to hold the piping cover in place before I sew it to the top plate of the cushion.

If you have experience with sewing cushions with piping, please leave a comment below and let me know if I am on the right track! Thanks!

Posted in Home Page, Margaret's Blog | 1 Comment

Planning for More Work Aboard Bear

Ever since we were in St. Mary’s working on the boat, Margaret and I have been discussing what still absolutely needs to get done and all the jobs that we would like to finish before we splash her in May. We have managed to dismiss a number of tasks from both lists, realizing that some can wait until a later date or are just not that critical. But, try as we might, we cannot completely eliminate all the jobs from either list. While a good deal of this work we can do from Peoria, such as making the cockpit and v-berth cushions, other jobs like tending to the mast and rigging can only be accomplished at the boat. Consequently, Margaret and I have settled on a plan of attack for those things that we need to be on site to finish.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment

The True Cost of Making Cockpit Cushions

I have been gathering the materials and the gumption to make our cockpit cushions over the past few months. I now have all of the materials and tools and am ready to begin the process. I will be posting some videos to share the process in the coming weeks, but I thought I would put up a quick post today about the cost of this project.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Margaret's Blog | 3 Comments

Our Experiences Shopping and Shipping with Online Marine Stores

After waiting for packages of parts to be delivered – and shipped – over the last three weeks while we are working on Bear in Georgia, I figured I would share what we learned about some of the chandleries that are out there.

First off, we discovered that most places on the internet do not actually have their own warehouses or only keep a very small number of items in stock. Since we needed the materials we were purchasing quickly, I always called directly before placing an order, making sure the company could actually ship in a timely fashion. Time after time, the “discount” marine stores on the web could not guarantee when things would be sent out because the items were actually being shipped from another party’s warehouse or, more often, multiple other parties’ warehouses. I am sure there are others (and please comment about your experiences), but the only online retailers we found that seemed to be shipping from their own warehouses were West Marine, Defender, Jamestown, Fisheries Supply, and Freeport Marine.
Continue reading

Posted in Home Page, Jeff's Blog | Leave a comment