Comment

Santa is as REAL as a Heart attack.

Whilst little ones plot strategies to game the behavioral matrix that is Santa's Naughty and Nice List , Big Kids everywhere this time of year secretly compose wish lists for things that only a Christmas miracle might bring- such as a New Boat!

fe9879e704855617d1bd2e8dda3c7e33--holiday-movies-christmas-movies.jpg

Oh to be sure I have wished upon my share of Christmas Stars, hoping and pleading with the Cosmic Forces of Father Christmas, that I might awake one Christmas morn to find the title to a 50' Leopard under my tree. Or if not that,  a brandy new sailing cat, or maybe some other indication that I am the new master of a not-necessarily-new, but new to me seaworthy craft of some sort or other that was big and pretty and all the things a good little sailor like me might ask for. 
 

But alas I have been heart broken far too many Dec 25th's to take seriously the idea that Christmas is a time for boats and all things boating, despite the fact that last year Santa brought me a lovely brass sextant and my Fiance a crisp new purple PFD with flowers on the lapel and fuzzy warm pockets for cold winter fingers. It really was a good Christmas for us last year from the gift giving side of things, even if the boat was not to be found in 2017. 

Christmas is a time of wonder and awe at the miracles that may be had and it is enough that I have a warm home this holiday season with a wife-to-be who loves me completely and a crew of fur babies to call my family. But I do secretly wish that I might wake Christmas Morning and find Kris Kringle has worked his magic and brought me a fine new craft to call my own, even if I know that is unlikely. 

That doesn't stop me however from trolling the listings and wandering the lanes of boat yards looking and hoping to find the boat of my dreams. Even if Santa doesn't bring it to me, that doesn't mean that I cant go find it. 

I have no doubt that there are others like me, who pine away for a Christmas miracle, secretly sending letters to Santa in their minds attesting to their good behavior and their desire for that most desirable of Christmas wish list items- whatever that item may be.  A new set of Golf Clubs, a 2018 Airstream International, a new Mac Book Pro with a super high def LCD 22" screen and custom air brushed zebra skin paint job,  or maybe something a little less materialistic . What ever your thing is, admit it, you secretly wish it would be in your grasp on Christmas Day. And even if you know it wont be there, you still hold out hope that your wrong. 

When I was a kid and began to doubt the existence of a certain gift giving deity based  on the contempt of  having such notions by the trollish turdlings I called classmates in grade school, I asked my Mom, " Is Santa REAL?" 

Without a beat she replied, "You bet your ass he's real". She explained that there may not be a man who wanders the skies on Christmas night depositing gifts for kids down chimneys, but there is a force that makes miracles happen and dreams come true at Christmas time and at all sorts of other times in the year.  While Santa is not a man, he is real in all of us. 

And so with the belief that miracles do take place and Santa is as real as heart attack, I encourage you to write that wish list and have those dreams. And even if a Boat is not on your wish list, and the thing you want the most doesn't show up under your tree this Holiday, I contend that that is not a reason to doubt the existence of Saint Nick or Father Christmas or Santa Clause. Because while the wish we make is rooted in the idea that it is delivered on Christmas morning by a fat man in big red sleigh, I know for a fact he works all year round and gifts show up not when you ask for them, but when you are ready to receive them. And Santa is alive and well and working in mysterious ways in all of us. So have a little faith this holiday and keep scanning the boat listings, because your never know when the thing you want the most will somehow make itself known, and your Christmas wish may come true. 

 

 

 

 

Comment

Comment

The Mystery of the Dismal Swamp and other tales of ICW

"Sit down young swabs and hear a tale, a tale for the inland maids, for no brave soul might take that route, in lieu of the Ocean waves. For the Yankee Man with taxes sore, did shut that old route down, when the seas did rise and the winds did blow when Matthew came to town. Today it sits unheralded where boats must go around, for no one shall pass that dismal swamp when the Yankee man shuts it down." -Ode to the Dismal Swamp

The Dismal Swamp Canal- Imagine what this was like when they were digging it a century ago?

The Dismal Swamp Canal- Imagine what this was like when they were digging it a century ago?

I wrote that- I know its bad, but as of Oct 31, the ditch through the swamp is reopened supposedly and I have never quite gotten over the name, "The Dismal Swamp" You know some 18th century land surveyor who drew the short stick in Ye Old Break room was forced to survey that swamp and was so eaten alive by mosquitoes and frozen by raw weather that the only adjective he could muster for it was "Dismal" when he described it to his boss and it stuck. But every time I hear it, I think of Ichabod Crane and the naive fears of the colonial Americans and how they came up with such tales of horror for the newly discovered landscape they were drawn to as Moths to the flame. And I can only imagine that the Dismal Swamp must have been a dreary place indeed then because its not too much better now, that is unless you enjoy limitless waterfowl and wildlife, breath taking views of old growth forests and alternatives to traveling though 10 foot seas and 35 knot breezes while making your way North and South in a boat. 

The ICW in East Carolina

The ICW in East Carolina

The ICW was made for that purpose and was a long time coming from the days of Jefferson and Madison. The forefathers knew our country needed a reliable way to connect the Eastern Seaboard that didn't rely on putting cargo and people at peril on the open seas.  The first pieces of the ICW were dug in the early days of the Union, and continued on a piecemeal basis until well into the 20th century. Indeed it is so old that not many who live along it can think of time when it wasn't there, but just the same it wasn't always so and the natural tendency is to make it not so. 

That is why the Dismal Swamp Canal needed to be repaired. Because God inherently doesn't want it there. Periodically, as was the case in Hurricane Matthew, Mother Nature will try to fill it in and reestablish the swamps continuity, unless we take actions as they did and remove a century worth of debris and sediment that had collected there,  And there are so many other spots along the 3000-mile long stretch of Inland waterway that runs from Boston to Florida that also ought to be "refreshed" if we continue to wish to have an alternative waterway connection between the most populated states in the Nation. 

But it is such that as long as boating is considered a luxury sport and commercial shipping interests continue to grow in the depth and breadth of their vessels, fewer and fewer people will care about the "ditch" that lies beneath the bridges and roadways of the I-95 corridor. And when people don't care, tax dollars get diverted to more visible and more "interesting" topics, leaving less sexy topics such as infrastructure unfunded and unattended to. 

But as you travel this Thanksgiving Weekend, and again for the subsequent holidays of December, whatever your faith tradition might allow, take note of the bridges as your cross over the highly developed landscape of the East. A great many Bridges cross over rivers that are as wide as they are shallow, but still too deep to cross with a Volvo or Volkswagen. And still many more bridges cross over man-made slashes through forests and marshes that play home to barges and boats of all shapes and sizes.

The Cape Cod Canal

The Cape Cod Canal

And as you drive 80 miles an hour over those ditches, pause for a second and think of all the Mules and Sails that powered the vessels that plied those waters before the days of motors and petroleum. Before I-95 and steel bridges, those ditches were the life line to so many Citizens of our states. And be thankful for the "Dismal Swamp", and the Chesapeake-Delaware Canal and The Adams Creek Canal and the Cape Cod Canal and even the East River. And all the other man made ditches that allowed our Nation to become a World Power and kept our Ancestors fed and safe in this New World. And be thankful for the ICW in all its forgotten glory. 

Happy Thanksgiving

Photo by marekuliasz/iStock / Getty Images

Photo by marekuliasz/iStock / Getty Images

 

 

Comment

Boating Economics and the Great 2017 Boat Shortage

When the 2017 Hurricane Season is remembered it will be remembered for one thing- The Death of The Cruising Cat fleet. 

maxresdefault.jpg

Unless you were asleep or firmly wedged under a large, heavy object for the autumn season, you couldn't help but see the massive pile of boats wrecked in Florida, The Gulf and the Caribbean in September. And of those boats, one could not help but get the impression that every catamaran in the 30-80 foot range was washed ashore, piled up and otherwise destroyed in the Hurricanes Irma and Jose. 

Initially many thought that there would be a windfall of salvage boats to be had when the insurance man came to call and that may well be so. But as of today, the market is decidedly short on inventory when it comes to used but serviceable 30-80 foot cats capable of charter or long range cruising. 

I know this because that is exactly what I am in the market for and the shortage of good to go boats is obvious, even if every broker didn't bemoan the fact when I told them what I was looking for. 

If you want a semi- seaworthy sailing 36' or a Gas-guzzling 40' Power Cruiser, you'll be astounded at the deals you can find. But if you want a commercially viable boat that can cruise the little latitudes, your sure to be disappointed in the options out there. And the ones that are out there are over-priced versions of what you almost might want, but not quite exactly "it".

Why is this? Well what the scuttlebutt is among the broker class is that the charter industry is looking to make up for big losses incurred from a busy Hurricane season, and those that had the right insurance need a boat to catch the Christmas crowd in a big way. But like any good business plan, you don't buy high and sell low, you buy rock bottom and make a bundle and then sell as high as you can get once your customers have turned the current asset into high priced floating rental car.

Hugo Hanham-Gross of the Hanham Insurance Agency  says "The Big Charter Companies buy 50 boats at a time from manufacturers like Leopard and Lagoon and they get bulk pricing. But those orders take two or three years to fill. They had huge losses from Irma and Jose and now will get brand new boats with the insurance money when it comes in in two or three years when the manufacturers can catch up". 

demandsupplycurve.jpg

But if it take the big companies three years to get new boats, how do they meet demand for the winter 2018?

As soon as the first insurance checks hit the hands of the big charter outfits, they started snapping up every well priced boat they could find, decimating the used boat inventory on the Eastern Seaboard of North and South America. They need something to stay in business this winter and that demand has caused prices to sky rocket right now. But while that is good for the boating industry, it sucks for the boat buyers.  The well priced boats have all but disappeared on the market right now and all that's left are the left overs that were too high priced to make any money. 

That's where there is somewhat good news. Because what goes up, must come down. When all those used boats that got snapped up this fall have to be flipped when the new orders come in, there will be a bevy of used boats to be had for cheap and a boat load of inventory to chose from. 

But here's why that news is tempered at best.  Though the market is short on boats, the prices are going up for another reason and its not entirely because of lack of supply. "The economy is growing and there is all kinds of new money coming into the market," says Hanham on a crackling cell phone from the English Country side.   "I have new boat owners coming in all the time. (The demand) is causing boats to sell for ridiculous prices". 

So with a growing economy and shortage of boats, prices are sky rocketing and that is music to the ears of boat brokers and builders. Even if it is the sad trombone music for the boat buyers. 

Screenshot 2017-11-20 at 10.30.38 AM.png

But despair not young sailor, there is light on the horizon yet. When all these boats that got snapped up in 2017 get flipped and the new orders start showing up in 2018 and beyond, the selection and supply will grow. That should cause prices to moderate if just a little.  And once we are past the winter glut after Irma and Jose, the forces of nature will take over once again.  As my first mate put it, "There is always another boat out there and its still early in the selling season and old people die all the time when it gets cold and their kids will sell their sh*** cheap".  Well said Capt. Matt,  way to go in finding the silver lining. 

 

 

 

Coming in 2018......

LogoBlacksmall.png

We started this business in 2017 with an idea to change the way sailing is taught. The truth is, there are two types of sailors, those who live to sail and those who sail to live. I fall into the latter of those two categories, because I have never sailed for fun, but rather because it was always something I was called to do. I say "called" because it wasn't the method I was drawn to (which is to say the act of sailing),  but rather the destination that always drew me to the desire to go sailing. And that is the alternative motive for the sport that has been glossed over by so many "sailing brands" over the years.

There are many who sail to sail, (ie. go around three buoys really fast and argue about the rules of doing so). And there are even more who sail for looks (ie buy a really expensive boat and sit on it at the dock to impress people). But then there are those who sail to live, who look for the horizon, dream of that far away cove that has yet to be found and consider the stars above a mere extension of the medium with which they find their way. For them it is a simple piece of cloth, strewn tight  across a timber and hauled in with a stiff and salty line whilst the hull below them slips silently across the more fluid surfaces of the planet. Its that simple, not expensive and nor should it be. 

KENYA/

I have always held in the greatest regard those who made their living from the wind and sea. The fishermen of the third world who don't know the difference between nylon and kevlar, let alone the difference between port and starboard. But never a day shall pass when they may not cross a dozen sea miles in a rickety thrown together skiff, in 10 foot seas with a 1962 Johnson outboard that has been jury rigged to a rotting transom with duct tape and cable ties to bring home a pile of creatures pulled from the depths for dinner and a living. That is true sailing if ever it was so, as that is how our ancestors did it and that is where the sport derives its roots. 

Somewhere we lost that spirit, because we lost that need to live deliberately. And in its place sailing became a sport of kings and gentlefolk, and became about how much you spent, instead of how far you may go.  

But there are many who are with me and sail not because of its affluence, but because of its ability to transport us to somewhere else. And those are the ones we aim to reach. 

For decades I taught the average sailors to go fast. It almost paid the bills and it satisfied my youthful urges. But as I grew I began to see the folly of my ways. Drinking rum and wearing foulies made me fit in, but it lacked a certain satisfaction of soul. And at the end of the day, the scenery never changed and the horizon was never reached. That is when I realized I needed to go where the water was deep and the horizon could be clearly discerned. And that is how I found myself on the edge of the North Atlantic in Eastern Carolina. 

0624171119.jpg

I'm now perched looking out to sea where I can see the horizon and the water is deep. And perhaps now that is the hardest part, as I lack the tools to get there. Oh I guess I could get there, but I just couldn't get there alive and isn't that just how it always goes, its never enough. Its the details I always miss. 

Well to get there safely, we need a bigger boat. One that can cruise the blue water and go where the ocean meets the sky. And that is what is coming in 2018. 

Our New Logo for 2018- We still have the Sail and Swords, but a new direction is indicated by the Compass points.

Our New Logo for 2018- We still have the Sail and Swords, but a new direction is indicated by the Compass points.

The Charted Life, a brand we will roll out in 2018 that will encompass everything we do at Crystal Coast Marine Consulting. The Instruction, the boat therapy, the certification and licensing, But to that we will add a few more things. 

Most Importantly, in January, our names will officially match and I will introduce to you, Mrs. Jennifer German. And to our newly formed family of three cats, a dog, a fish and a bevy of watercraft, will be added "Tillie", a 1970 Airstream Travel Trailer which will become our vessel to explore the less fluid parts of the planet and aid us as we hope to spread the word about UGO wear, the newest and best way to keep your cell phone safe and dry while your underway or on the water.

18527735_219579088543268_6695204043537726474_n.jpg

Tillie's sister will be christened "Waltzing Matilda" and she will be a 40'-ish foot cruising catamaran which we will use to make our way across the more fluid parts of the planet. This will allow us to offer blue water sailing instruction including  navigation, celestial, cruising and foreign port exploration. She will also be flying the UGO colors as well as The SlipSure flag as we aim to bring these brands as well as a host of other products to you to make the live aboard life easier. 

Our aim is to provide our clients with all the resources they might need to enjoy a life that is dedicated to exploring our planet on land or sea, where ever the wild things may roam. Whether it be instruction on how to navigate safely, tips on how to make your mobile home more mobile friendly or insurance for your mobile life toys, we aim to help. We will also have an Internet TV channel that is dedicated to sharing news from the road and tales from the sea so you can tune in and catch up where ever your home may be moored (providing you have a wifi signal). And don't forget the Mobile Marketplace where we will offer cool things you need to become a Liveaboard Sailor or a Boondocker, like the UGO Floating Cellphone case or The Slipsure App, when you need to find a place to dock your boat while your on the go and underway.  

20429945_10213520893399916_8652590749194753586_n.jpg

And that is why, CCMC, is just not enough to describe all we are planning to do in 2018, so while we change our names in marriage, we are also adopting a new name and brand for our business, and we will call it ; The Charted Life, a resource for those who wish to live life deliberately by exploring our planet thought the mobile lifestyle, on land and sea. 

So that's everything that coming in 2018 and that's what we are working towards as we plan our wedding and make ready for the coming year. And this year when the sun sets on the longest night of the year and the planet begins another march towards the sun, we will be rolling out a new vision for how we teach sailing and what it means to live a life that is not based on a zip code but rather where you find yourself when the sun rises each day. 

 

 

 

 

Nearer My God to Thee...

Posted at http://captchris.blogspot.com/2014/09/nearer-my-god-to-thee.html
on Monday, September 1, 2014
1019757_10200980364464049_898860188_o.jpg

I have recently been asked to testify as to how I found God. Or in Born Again terms, how I came to know Jesus. Well I'm not born again I don't think, I was born once, christened once and always a child of the Lord. Now I am a man and while I have sometimes wandered  away from the foot prints in the sand and at times failed to follow the lead of the Lord, I have never ever lost His guidance and always felt His hand on my shoulder. I believe God gives us the vessel, but it is ours to row for the shore. And so I have always been hesitant to allow myself to fully give myself to God's will. That was until that day in November.

 

The day started beautifully. Crystal clear skies, a gentle breeze out of the North and flat calm seas, temps in the 50's. I knew that the winds would pick up later that day, but my thoughts were at the time, "This is the perfect time of year to sail on Long Island Sound." It was by all accounts a perfect day to sail from Guilford to Bridgeport single handed in a 27' sailboat. Or so I thought.

 

My mission was clear. CCB had one more boat that the City had yet to steal from us and our dock was still in place in the Bridgeport Boat Basin. Our lawyer had drafted a Cease and Desist letter to the City of Bridgeport who had threatened earlier that month to illegally seize our facility and fleet and had made good on that threat earlier in the week, by illegally seizing all our boats and storing them at Captain's Cove. But the dock was still there.

 

I was aiming to make a big public display in protest by sailing back on to our now illegally cleared dock with the last remaining vessel we had and walking across the waterfront downtown with the legal notice strait up to the City Attorney's office. I had called the press and the cops and notified both of my intentions. The press were waiting for a move from the cops but the cops weren't moving for justice, so neither was the press. One reporter from Channel 12 news was planning to arrive when I made landfall in the vessel and would film my walk up to the City Attorney's office. I always loved to make a scene. But I had to arrive on time if they were going to be there.

 

And so at 6AM I met with one of my Board members who had possession of the vessel and left my car in Guilford by the train station. I figured I would take the train back after my trip and pick up my car- one of the many perks to having a public access boating facility right by a municipal train station- why they shut it down I will never know. But just the same I started out.

 

I was driven down to the beach where I would canoe out to the mooring where the 27 foot Hunter was being moored. She bounced like a top on the waves and the fresh breeze made her look as if she was a bronco waiting to be set loose in the stall. I could also see a brown beard of growth on her water line indicating to me that she hadn't moved much that summer. But other than the seaweed skirt she wore, she otherwise seemed to be a sound vessel and no worse for the neglect that summer.

 

Climbing aboard the rocking vessel from a tippy canoe was a bit like landing on a aircraft carrier- you waited for the roll and hoped you caught the line at the right time to pull yourself aboard. We pulled in behind the lee of the vessel and I stood up with hands out stretched. One two three...GO! I was thankful to have shed the extra 40 pounds and I felt the canoe bound back as I launched myself on to the stern of the sailboat at the peak of one of its six foot breaches. My canoe captain jettisoned my bag and supplies aboard and with a tip of his hat he rode a roller back into the beach with the canoe. That would be the last human face I saw as the executive director of CCB.

 

Once aboard I immediately noticed the smell of funk coming from the cabin. She had a distinct odor of motor oil and mildew. I didn't see any mold, but I did notice a black rim of sooty oil ringing the cabin sole bulkheads. I thought that strange as the boat when I sent it up to Guilford ran great and had a strong bilge pump in it. Maybe the rain had filled it and there was some grime in the bilge that stained the walls. "We'll clean that up this weekend," I thought to myself as I turned on the batteries and made my way to fire up the diesel.

 

I knew I needed to make a 3 PM  landing time in Bridgeport and I had at least 6 hours of sailing time ahead of me, so I did not have a moment to spare. I quickly checked for water pumping in the stern as I fired the motor and took the cover off of the main sail. This boat was equipped with a roller fuller on the jib, but the main had to be raised manually. I thought once I got out to sea, I could lash the wheel and raise the main in a hurry, but I had to remove the cover before I left the mooring. I had told at least a hundred students who wanted to single hand sail a keel boat that trying to drive and do all that foredeck work is impossible. So get as much done as you can before you set sail. 90% of a successful voyage is proper preparation.

 

And I thought I had done that. I packed a few things that I knew would be of help and maybe even a few things that I didn't need but thought would be fun to have. My foul weather jacket and PFD(Lifejacket) and GPS, a few apples I had picked at my local orchard and a bag of trail mix. I had a few bottles of water and some sun screen and I even thought to bring my brand new 12-volt electric blanket just in case it was cold out there. The last few things I brought were to keep the trip interesting just in case I had to motor if the wind died. I brought my harmonica and my trusty book of short stories by John Cheever. And of course, I strapped a trusty filet knife to my thigh so I could cut lines loose if I went overboard. That should do it or so I thought, I had made this trip dozens of times.

 

With the motor running and gear stored, I had but drop the line and I would be off. A strait shot down Sound past New Haven and Stratford Point and I would be there. I ran forward and dropped the mooring gear, peeled out the jib and slipped the motor into forward. A puff of black smoke billowed up over the stern and I had set sail.

 

I looked back at shore to see the Canoe was stowed and my ride no where to be seen. As the mooring field fell into the distance a fear set upon me of what I would find on shore when I made my way up Bridgeport Harbor. That was some 40 miles off I thought and I will have lots of people there when I came ashore- they wouldn't dream of arresting me in front of all those people, would they?

 

The first hour was quiet. I looked at my GPS and saw I was making a cool 3.5 knots. Not the fastest but for a boat with a bottom that looked like a 1970's porn star, it was pretty good. I shot a text to my buddy John and told him all was well. He shot back immediately and said he would meet me at the dock at 3PM.

 

At the start of the second hour I could feel a change in the air. The warm summer sun had turned to steely fall shine and the humidity had dropped. Off in the distance I could see New Haven and the horizon had some broken gunsmoke clouds building in. Behind the first array of clouds,  I could see a darker more angry cloud developing, but no thunder heads or signs of ugly weather. With the change in the air though, a chill set over me and I reached down to unzip my PFD. I quickly darted below and grabbed my foul weather jacket and put it on. While down below I gave myself a squirt of sunscreen and grabbed a handful of trail mix and bottle of water and returned to the wheel. It was too early for apples and although the day was moving along well, I had many days stuck out on the sound for much longer than I expected before and thought I should reserve some food for the afternoon.

 

When I got back and had finished re-installing my life jacket with my new found layer- the summer had been free of sweaters and foulies, and my PFD was set to t-shirt and summer mode. I had to adjust for the return of wool and gore-tex. When I looked up from the adjustment, that's when I first saw it.

 

The calm rolling waves abruptly stopped about a mile off and a confused chop roiled in the distance. I could tell a wall of wind was making its way towards me and from the looks of it, it was an angry one at that.

 

I knew I was somewhere between Branford and East Haven, a far shot from my desired destination. Perhaps this was just a freshening of the breeze that would get me there on time? Maybe this would be a good thing. I had raised the main sail in the first hour and hadn't notice much of a perk in speed, maybe this was a lucky break?

 

When the first wall of wind hit, it was actually quite pleasant. A little cold, but fresh like the blast of arctic air that comes in advance of a thundershower on a hot summer day. The boat took a distinct heel and I could hear my gear slam to the floor in the cabin. "Damn," I thought, "I just bruised my apples".

 

I deduced from the slight song in the rigging and the stiff pull of the wheel that we (the vessel and I) were approaching 15 knots of wind- a little more than I liked, but still very manageable. The GPS came alive as well with readings of 5.5 to 6 knots. That was the speed I needed- Good!

 

The vessel responded as well as a furry little beast at sea could with its legs unshaven- and despite the short draft keel she took to wind well with full sails and a little too much breeze. I kept the motor running the entire time figuring that would eek us out another knot or two with a head wind. And with that I called John.

John and I trying to look upset for a New Haven Register reporter story on the Bridgeport Boat Basin

John and I trying to look upset for a New Haven Register reporter story on the Bridgeport Boat Basin

"Hey Brother its Chris" I started. "How goes it Cap'?" he said "Well the wind just picked up and I'm a little over powered but we're making way now nicely." "That's good Cap', what time do you think you'll be in?" John had picked the letter up from the attorney that morning and he would be walking with me to deliver it to the City. "I should be there by 3," I said, " Did you get the letter?" "Sure did, I have to do a few things but I will meet you on the dock." And with that I wished him well and he did the same for me and I got back to the business of sailing.

 

By hour three, the wind had gone from simmer to burn. A zesty 15 knots, quickly became a tempestuous 20 and then an angry 30. Every so often I could swear a gust of 40 would swing through. When the slight song in the rigging became a choir of cat calls and whistles I quickly lowered the main and lashed it to the boom. I also rolled the jib thinking I could inch it out a little if things calmed down. But they didn't and wouldn't until four days later.

 

The skies took on a look of late winter as flocks of mountain sized gray clouds raced to Long Island. Between each cloud, an azure blue flashed brilliantly revealing the heavens so that my looks of terror could be seen to all the Angels above who peeked from behind the shadows of galloping behemoths. I know they were watching but I am not sure if they were helping that day.

 

I have often felt the hand of an Angel with me at Sea. As a boy I was nearly sucked below in the Housatonic River when a dinghy sunk beneath me. Somehow I leaped what must have been 15 feet from the stern of the dinghy up to the bow of a 30' sail boat over the life lines and safely onto the foredeck. That time I was convinced I was flown to safety on the wings of my Guardian Angel. But this day, I didn't feel any Angels, just a bunch of demons that had come to call.

 

The boat pitched and rolled with every wave and the bow slapped down, beard and all.  With each crash I heard another thing slam to the deck inside, but every time I attempted to go below the wind grabbed the bow and swung us downwind to Long Island. By the end of the fourth hour I realized, I wasn't going forward. Wait what??? Hour FOUR??

 

Some how in my terror, I hadn't noticed the time. My cell phone was safely stored in my pocket away from the spray of the sea and so I didn't do my usual and customary check every 15 minutes. The last time I had looked at my phone was just after I got off the with John. Somehow I had lost two hours and my position to New Haven had not changed at all. I was in the exact same spot for two hours and failed to notice. The motor was pegged full ahead and the sails were stowed but the boat would not work against the wind in any direction except one- Long Island.

 

By this time it was close to 12 and I realized my arrival at 3 in Bridgeport was unlikely. I texted the reporter and let him know that the weather had turned foul and that my arrival was delayed. He said to text him when I got to Bridgeport- with that I knew he was gone.

 

My heart raced and my head was pounding. With each gust I did all I could to keep the ship into the wind and with each lull I pondered what my next step would be. I thought if only I could get a reef in the main I could get another couple of knots and make it to someplace in New Haven and meet John at the train station. Having no line I took a lazy jib sheet and started to lash the wheel to the rail. When I felt it would hold the boat into the wind long enough, I launched myself at the mast ready to raise the main. Just then, the wheel broke loose and the boat spun like a top. The main halyard slipped from my hand and tangled in the shrouds. It took just seconds but with that my hopes of making it to Bridgeport on time evaporated.

 

Too petrified to be sad, I slithered my way to the cockpit of the violently broaching vessel. I took the wheel and waited for the boat to swing windward. The broach could only have last a few seconds but in the that time the boat slid a half mile to leward. The last hour of progress was lost.

 

I picked up the phone and called. "John, I'm not gonna make it to Bridgeport. I can't get to shore" "How's that Cap,?" He said, "I cant really hear you?" "JOHN," I screamed "I CANT GET ON SHORE. IM OFF NEW HAVEN AND I JUST CANT GET IN. I DONT KNOW WHAT TO DO?" The last I heard from him was a few garbled words about God and the Coast Guard. The call ended.

 

I noted the time, 1PM. I wouldn't make it, fine, but now my Main sail was fouled and I couldnt leave the helm to fix it. I wiped my eyes clear of salt and tipped the gear handle with my foot just to make sure we were all in. Suddenly my phone rang. "Sir this is Coast Guard Sector New Haven. We got a report that you were in distress?" "HI THANKS FOR THE CALL" I screamed into the cell, "I'm not currently in distress, but Im about two steps away. I dont want to call you out here, but if you could keep an ear out because if it gets any worse I will need your help." "No problem," He said " We'll be standing by if you need us sir." "Thanks" I replied and the call was lost.

 

Just then a wave slammed the side and the boat learched sideways. I couldn't tell for sure but it looked like New Haven was getting closer. I looked down to check the GPS and noticed it sitting upside down on the deck, black. For seven years I had never gone to sea without this GPS. It was in many ways my safety blanket because I knew it would always lead me home. I reached around the back to check and see if it was still connected and fine wires brushed my frozen fingers. The chord had ripped out. She would run no more, It was done.

 

I felt my heart sink lower. Not that I needed this devise to sail home, but it was always there and cost $1000. And in many ways this was the brain of CCB and it was gone. How was I going to do this?

 

Between 1PM and 3PM I spoke to the Coast Guard one more time. On the last call they suggested I let the boat drift to Long Island and just get on dry land. I thanked them for their advice but assured them I could not do that. But somewhere in that time I managed to wind my way in past New Haven, West Haven, Milford and Stratford. With every gust and every luff  a few more things clunked and smashed and I think it was the repetitive sound of breaking that made the hours pass. That was until I noticed the clunk had changed from a smash to a splash.

 

As I worked the boat into the lee of Stratford Point where the winds were slightly lessened, I began to notice a sloshing from the cabin. I heard things moving around with every pitch of the boat and the sound was not scraping on the decks but instead slapping. I craned my head over the companion way as far as I could while still holding the wheel and noticed black water filling the cabin and all my belonging sloshing from side to side. I kicked myself for not eating the apple but quickly forgot about it when the vision of me dead at the bottom of Long Island Sound worked into my mind.  The boat was sinking.

 

I didn't bother to call the Coast Guard or John. I was ready to go down. I wanted to go down. I  had pretty much forgotten the knife strapped to my thigh since I had left. Half of me thought I might need it on the docks upon my return if I didn't fall over board but the other half wondered if I didn't bring it for some other reason. My eyes went back to the knife when it occurred to me that my boat was sinking, my business was sinking, my life was ending and all I wanted was to be someplace else.

 

I had one last hurdle to cross to get to Bridgeport Harbor. It was now approaching 5 PM and the day was ending. The wind would not stop and to get into to the Harbor I had to go out around the breakwater one more time. Out there the current was intense and the wind howling. My boat was full of water and at any moment I wondered if it would seize the engine. I had been running the engine for 7 hours now -  and did not know if there would be fuel to battle the winds one more time?

 

 I took the turn South and made way for the entrance to Bridgeport Harbor. I felt the wind grab the boat and almost shake it loose. It spun like a top and rolled violently from side to side. I heard the engine scream against the raging current. In the hopes that I could eek out just a little more power, I inched out the jib. The wind grabbed it and yanked it out like a towel shaking the sand off at the beach. The sheets immediately tangled and wrapped around the mast. The jib filled with air and the spin of the vessel took on a direct  course to Long Island as the boat screamed southward. The boat,  pitching violently downwind, I hoped would slide past the entrance to the harbor and I could duck in inside the wind shadow of the Harbor. As I inched my way closer to the rock pile at the entrance I could feel the boat starting to turn dead down wind. Just as we reached the jetty, the wind ripping out of the channel grabbed the boat and slammed it down on the water. The jib, full of water and bounding upward shredded under the weight as the boat wallowed in raging seas. The jib was gone, the main halyard fouled, the boat sinking and the GPS dead. I was now out of options except for one.

 

 

"GOD IM READY WHEN YOU ARE?" I screamed, tears sliding down my cheeks. "EITHER TAKE ME NOW OR GET ME HOME- I'LL DO WHAT YOU TELL ME. ITS YOUR CALL. I'M READY"

 

 

 

With that the boat came back up and the motor took hold. Somehow, the boat inched its way forward into the wind shadow and ducked into the Harbor. The vessel limped up to the dock and John was waiting there. The street lights had come on and the Harbor glowed.

The moorings floated empty in the basin and the docks looked useless and empty except for one broken and tattered sail boat. I eased the boat on to the dock and John grabbed the lines. I slid it into neutral, hopped off the boat and fell to my knees on the dock. I don't think I even waited til the boat stopped, John tied it all up. My knees shook and my head hurt. My stomach growled with hunger and my lips cracked with thirst. I just wanted to go home.

 

 

 

 

 

I took off my PFD and rain coat and threw them on the decks of the boat. I looked inside at the black water and was struck by the warmth of the water compared to my frozen hands. The smell of exhaust filled the cabin and the apples floated by my brand new 12-volt blanket soaked in oily black sludge. I knew somewhere at the bottom of that pool of ick was my favorite harmonica. I said, "John, Fuck it. Will fix it this weekend. I just want to go home."

 

 

I have always been haunted by this photo. This is the last photo taken of the Bridgeport Boat Basin and it caught exactly how I felt walking off that boat- out of focus, angry and confused.

I have always been haunted by this photo. This is the last photo taken of the Bridgeport Boat Basin and it caught exactly how I felt walking off that boat- out of focus, angry and confused.

John walked me up to the train platform. He patted me on the shoulder and said something encouraging, but all I could hear was my heart and head pounding. He grabbed my shoulder and said, "Hey give me that, you don't want to take that on the train",pointing to the knife on my thigh. I unstrapped it and handed it to him.

 

The Bridgeport Boat Basin Before

The Bridgeport Boat Basin Before

The ride home was silent except for one last call from the Petty Officer at USCG New Haven. "I made it back," I said. "I am very glad to hear that sir, we would have come to get you if you needed it though." 'I am glad to hear that," I said, "Ive never had a need for you before, but today I was real close." "We're always here if you need us, welcome home."

 

I got home around 9 PM that night. I went right to bed and if I dreamed that night and next day I don't remember them. I woke around 5AM Sunday to see the sunrise. My body hurt, my skin burned and my soul was crushed. The sound of waves and stink of diesel were stuck in my ears and nose. I sat down to my computer and clicked it on. For the last month, I had lived at this computer filing petitions, writing letters, cutting videos and watching facebook trying to save CCB. I immediately clicked on Facebook and began to scroll to see if any news had covered my journey. I found nothing. But just before I clicked off the screen, I noticed a friend of mine had posted that she would be preaching at the Cathedral in Hartford later that morning. Something inside me said, get dressed and go to church. And so I did. And when I got there, God was waiting for me

The Best Little Patch of Sand and Water I EVER Saw

Posted at https://captchris.blogspot.com on March 23, 2017

I don't usually wax poetic about  any other body of water on this blog, other than my beloved Long island Sound.  It was the harbor of my birth and my lifeblood for far too long for me to betray my love affair with  any of the other lovelies like the Chesapeake Bay or the Gulf of Mexico. But of late I have found myself wandering a new path and discovered a strange fact, my heart betrays me. I have fallen in love with Pamlico Sound and I feel just as guilty as a wayward lapdog getting scratches from some other lap owner. Oh what pitiful stuff, the shame I feel.

PamlicoSound-EO.JPG

But hear me out. There is an argument to be made that the Pamlico Sound is one of the best training grounds on the Earth for sailing and boating. A fact that the Military and Kite Boarders alike have been keeping under their hats for far too long and likely the reason why we all know about Annapolis and Key West, Newport and Charleston, but only a select few have ever heard of Bath, New Bern, Ocracoke and Oriental.

 

Cape Hatteras Light

Cape Hatteras Light

Why is it that Sir Walter Raleigh himself, wandered between the shifting sandbars in the 1600's and it gave birth to household names like Blackbeard and the Wright Brothers, yet so few people know about this shallow little ditch of water perched so precariously on the Atlantic Shelf? As early as the 1700's the US Government saw economic value to the Sound and saw fit to transform the little inlets and rivers that feed the Sound into the most prominent man-made cut of the ICW. And certainly both the Union and Confederate forces saw strategic value in the Sound or why else would they fortify the bejeasus out of it in 1860 and continue to do so up until today. Between the planes, the bases and the bombing ranges one only need but to listen intently to hear evidence of Freedom being effected anywhere from Charlotte to Richmond to Wilmington these days.

The Wright Brothers

The Wright Brothers

 

 

 

Sir Walter Raleigh

Sir Walter Raleigh

And then there are the old tales and stories bandied about in History. Virginia Dare and the Lost Colony, the founding of the Navy Seals at Ocracoke and the German Subs that litter the Grave Yard of the Atlantic Ocean off Hatteras. There's the Navy Test Flights that took place at New Bern and of course the advent of the Light House Service and the the US Coast Guard on the Outerbanks.  Can all of this history and learning have taken place in such proximity of a body of water if it weren't something very special in the first place? Well that's the Pamlico Sound.

THE USCG

THE USCG

I can tell you from my own experience, the Pamlico Sound boasts a strange mix of fresh and salty, inland and offshore, Urban and Backwoods. The salinity and nutrients mix together in the Sound so as to create a bounty of flora and fauna unmatched in the Western World. Perhaps its the proximity to the Gulf Stream that has blown evolution in the Sounds favor. Tropical species like Palm Trees and Sea Oats, dolphins and Pelican make this seem like an Island Paradise with a much smaller latitude at times than it actually has, while Albatrosses and Oaks, Blue Crab and Bunker make this place look much more like Long Island or Boston Harbor at times. Anybody that has had the misfortune to plant tomatoes in February around here knows that March can and will show that irony in the most unwelcome way when its 80 degrees on Valentines Day and Snowing for the Ides of March. 

Edward "Blackbeard" Teach

Edward "Blackbeard" Teach

 

She's a fickle body of water to be sure. One day she is as calm and lovely as a lagoon set in the Emerald Sea and the next boasting waves and winds reminiscent of the mighty North Atlantic in Winter. It is the fickleness of weather that makes her teachable moments the most valuable I think. More than one student has received their offshore experience while caught in a surprise waterspout or some micro-burst on an otherwise pristine afternoon in the Sound. But it is this wild weather in such close proximity to safe harbor that makes this body of water such a great place to learn. You can mess up in blue water conditions in the Sound, without paying the ultimate price of a mess up in real blue water. There are perks to being locked in by a barrier Island.

 

The Anchorage Inn at Ocracoke

The Anchorage Inn at Ocracoke

But when the time comes, as we all hope it will for our little fledgling sailors, to fly into the open world, that world is just a few short miles from multiple launching pads in North Carolina, including my favorite, Beaufort, NC. The little town with the big piratitude sits at the mouth of one the most underused yet primed for greatness inlets on the North American coast at the end of the ICW where it makes its turn south on your way to Florida. Her sister City, Morehead, is the larger and flashier of the two, but it is Beaufort that boasts the history of Piracy and is the namesake of the Inlet and that is where I call home and and plan to marry my lovely fiance later this year.

So my love for Long Island Sound is not gone. I still hold her dear in my memories of youth and she is where I gained most of my seatime. But its time for me to open my heart to another and quite frankly she is quite a few notches up the scale of places to learn. Long Island Sound still bristles right now with snow and ice. She is deep and treacherous and most unforgiving. Her waters that once teamed with lobster and fish, now crawl with odd shaped slimy things that no one wants to eat. And not just that, she is elitist and expensive and not very welcoming.

Pamlico Sound is alive with spring right now, teaming with Oyster, crabs and fish from all over the Atlantic. In a few short weeks summer will arrive here and the dolphins and pelican will be so thick you'll have to watch yourself as you sail past the bombing range at Brant's Shoal. The Marines will still be rattling the windows and the sound of Freedom will blow in as the Harriers cross overhead. The skies will light up with Lightning and Ocracoke will come alive with bikes and ice cream cones. And all too many shop owners in Oriental, Beaufort, New Bern and Manteo will toss you a line and help you tie up, hoping for a chance sale and a few more tourisim dollars. As for Jen and I,  we will be settling down to a plate of steamed seafood that is as fresh and local as you hope to get anywhere in the modern Sea. Such is life in Eastern Carolina, on the shores of the best little patch of sand and water I ever saw, Pamlico Sound.  Hope to see Y'all soon.

A Cautionary Tale

Ding And Dong http://sailinganarchy.com/2017/10/31/ding-and-dong/

Ding And Dong

http://sailinganarchy.com/2017/10/31/ding-and-dong/

Well admit it. You have clicked at least once on the story of the two women adrift at sea for five months who somehow managed to garner national attention even if they couldn't figure out how to turn on an epirb. You don't have to be ashamed or proud- its just a fact- like watching a monkey pleasure himself at the zoo- you are not evil,  you are just drawn to watching stupidity in motion as are we all. 

But this tale, filled with sound and fury, signifies nothing if the lessons taken from it are not heeded. Namely, there but for the grace go I. 
Let me explain. 

We are all the women in this story at some point. Rushing head long into misfortune because we thought we knew more than we didn't know we didn't know. Tell me you haven't tried to change the oil, bought a pile of lumber or somehow tried to assemble an item when everyone told you this was beyond your paygrade, but you did it just the same and hoped for the best.  And invariably it cost you a fair bit more because you over tightened a seal, forgot to square a corner or left a pile of screws out because you just couldn't figure out how all the parts went together.  We've all done it once, but perhaps the ramifications were not so dire as to leave us stranded at sea for five months. A lesson I imagine they wont soon forget. 

Screenshot 2017-10-27 at 10.png

But it is the hubris nature of man (or woman in this case) that says I know what I need to know, when you in fact don't even fully understand what it is your supposed to know to take on a task. It is the commonality of this phenomenon that  is so unsettling and my market research bears this out. 

You see particularly in sailing and boat ownership, there is a common held belief that it is easy and every one can do it. So easy in fact that you can read a few books and watch a video and then buy a $300,000 boat and sail to Tahiti. But you really can't blame those that believe that because that is what the big sailing brands who espouse a posture of education would have us believe. 

How many people have taken ASA 101, 102, 103 and 105 and then expect to wander into a foreign port, lay down $30,000 and take command of a $2 Million vessel? The Moorings have built a business on that very precept as did US Sailing and the American Sailing Association. The idea is once you have read your book, watched your video and then spent a couple weeks in a class, you are ready to charter a boat or worse yet, go buy one of your own- and that is what lead these two otherwise seemingly innocent women to wander out to the middle of no where for five months and wind up off the coast of Japan, some 2000 miles in the wrong direction.

The problem is it usually will cost you and your insurance company thousands of dollars to realize you need more experience at the wheel and most times it leads to the person leaving the sailing lifestyle.  I worry these women are too clueless to get that but if and when the US Navy hands them a towing bill for $100,000 maybe they will  then get the point? Does the US Navy charge for towing? God I hope so. It could save these ladies lives. 

I don't know if the Navy will charge these two for towing back to shore, but I took this shot in 2014 after a couple was washed on the rocks off Branford, CT. The US Coast Guard saved them, then issued them a few thousand dollars in fines for their trouble. This was only a couple miles in Long Island Sound. Can you imagine what the bill for towing could be 900 miles off the coast of Japan back to Hawaii in open Ocean? Behold the value of education. 

I don't know if the Navy will charge these two for towing back to shore, but I took this shot in 2014 after a couple was washed on the rocks off Branford, CT. The US Coast Guard saved them, then issued them a few thousand dollars in fines for their trouble. This was only a couple miles in Long Island Sound. Can you imagine what the bill for towing could be 900 miles off the coast of Japan back to Hawaii in open Ocean? Behold the value of education. 

But for everyone else who thinks that by attending a week's worth of classes at your local sailing school and reading a book you are qualified to take command of a sea going vessel, please look to these women and know that it is a simple turn of the wheel that could save you from international embarrassment or death.

Boats are deadly, whether it is power or sail. They can kill you. And it is by God's Amazing Grace that these simple minded women did not get lost at sea, never to be heard from again. What has everyone so irritated is that they think they knew so much and got so lucky as to make it back alive when so many far more experienced sailors never did. And what is is even more maddening is that for every sailor lost at sea, there is another who is up late on Youtube,  pouring over their newly acquired "Start Sailing Right" book that they got on Amazon for $1.50 who will buy a boat this spring off of POP Yachts that they have no idea how to use and cant afford and will set out to sea without ever thinking twice. Some will make it, and some will not.

Some will sail for decades to come, but most will abandon this idea in the back of some boat yard somewhere where a dozen other boats of the dreams like this have come to rest. And they are the fortunate ones because the boats that die on the hard with trees growing from them are not at the bottom of the sea where so many like these ladies have found their final reward. 

 

 
 

 

 

 


 

Poor Planning on your part...

Sailors from the USS Ashland rescued Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba 900 miles off the coast of Japan on Oct. 25. http://wapo.st/2zbZwRz

Sailors from the USS Ashland rescued Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba 900 miles off the coast of Japan on Oct. 25. http://wapo.st/2zbZwRz

So this is a tale we ought to be discussing for many days to come. Two women set out from Hawaii on their way to Polynesia with a big old cruising sail boat and a dog just before Memorial Day this year. On board they had a years worth of food, a water maker, a set of sails and a motor and likely a host of navigation gear and all the best supplies money can buy. This week, the Navy found them waving distress signals and panicked but otherwise in good health and not really any worse for the wear floating with a fully functional sailboat and a dog 900 miles off the Coast of Japan.  


Sailors from the USS Ashland rescued Jennifer Appel and Tasha Fuiaba 900 miles off the coast of Japan on Oct. 25. http://wapo.st/2zbZwRz

Now I am not saying I am any better or worse. Mistakes happen. Our wits sometimes escape us and if you ask my fiance Jen, I get turned around in a mall parking lot on a daily basis. But generally I don't have to call the authorities to come rescue me when I can't find my way back to the Macy's entrance. But two sailors, with otherwise top notch sailing gear, got lost at sea for five months in a perfectly sound vessel and required the Navy to assist them in getting back to shore. 

Now lets just put aside the jokes about Navy navigational skills for now. Not everyone can hit a 3000 foot tanker moving at 5 knots in open seas four times in one year- that requires a certain amount of Government intervention to pull that one off. But they called the Navy when their motor died and they could not find their way back to shore- after five months at sea. 

Lets just examine the galactic failures of these ladies. Not just did they go to sea with it seems no knowledge of motor repair or ability to keep their motor running, they also went to sea with it seems no navigational know how and I dare say, an overdose in confidence. 

They are not alone, boats wash ashore on the banks of the Eastern Seaboard on a weekly basis and most times its because someone had more money than brains. Oh they blame the boat and the weather, but usually it can be boiled down to plain old operator error and I suspect by the time the hero stories of these women's survival make it to the Lifetime for Women network, we will know that the key factor in understanding how this happened was the two ladies with a dog and boat didn't have any business being out there. 

You see for them to be stuck at sea for not just one month, not just two months, but for five whole months without the ability to dead reckon their way to any form of dry land means they had no charts, they had no radar, no GPS, no compass and no sextant or they had it all and no idea how to use any of it.

People ask why do we still use paper charts when we have GPS and Radar and they are right for 9/10ths of the boats at sea. But I am going to assume, these ladies lost every GPS on their boat and the radar was fried as well. That still doesn't explain why they could not dead reckon themselves close enough to a shipping channel or to better still an actual port of call in nearly a half of a year. 

Phones work with GPS. So does Google maps. And even the worst plans can pick up a signal eventually if you get close enough to one of the Million Cell towers that beam out across the planet every minute of every day to send a text message. Your telling me that they couldn't hit a single ping in five months and their gps and their compass and their radar and their motor and the paper charts all died. That's what had to happen for them to actually be lost in a fully functional sail boat for five months. Because even the worst sailors can pull in the main sheet  and make a little forward progress towards the sun for long enough to intercept a cell tower and send a text to their mom saying "lost at sea help". 

What I think happened is why I do what I do for a living. They had enough money to buy a boat and enough band width to see a few videos and maybe read a book. Or maybe even they took a a couple sailing classes and got a few certifications of attendance. But they had no business being out there. Maybe I'll be proven wrong and something critical went wrong with their vessel and they were cast to the elements. But from what I could see from the photos, their boat had a sail, a rudder and a keel. It even had a wheel and a mast. What they didn't have was the skills to be able to successfully negotiate those items in relation to the natural forces of the earth to effectively return themselves to safety. That is what they did wrong and that is what I aim to provide boaters with when have the desire to sail and the financial means to do so. Just cause you have the money to have a boat, doesn't mean you have the know how to sail it, and that's where I come in. 


 


 


 

Boats are lousy investments, so sell yours today

IMG_20171026_115916-EFFECTS.jpg

So sorry for the delay in posts. I've been up and down the Eastern Seaboard for the last few days and while my car now needs an oil change, two new boat owners are now on their way to success (we hope). One has purchased and is now happily sailing, the other is still waiting to hear back on an offer we made on Monday. And that's where this post comes from.  Two deals in process, one closed and one teeters on the edge of failure and the question begs why. 

Case #1- The first case was a 1995 Hunter 23.5. Offered by the owner and sold for a very reasonable $2000. There was no motor, the boat was not operational but it did come with a trailer. The previous owner just wanted it sold to a good home and my client was happy to provide that good home. 

Case #2 - The second case was 1985 32' Gemini Catamaran with a 2003 Honda 25 horse. This is an estate boat and the previous owner  admittedly neglected the boat and used just a bit of Yankee ingenuity to keep her running. The head liner was vinyl siding purchased from the orange home improvement big box store and the cracked portholes were sealed with bumper stickers from the marine big box store. In short the vessel suffered from extensive disrepair due to neglect and jury rigging.  It was offered for upwards of $20K but worth substantially less.

What do these two cases have in common? Well they are both my clients, but more importantly, they both involve boats of age and are in somewhat disrepair. A common theme in fiberglass boats at a certain price point. Basically if your boat is older than 10 years old meaning it is 2017 now, boats older than 2007, are not what you would call "Bristol" condition and any amount of money you poor into them will not yield "bristol" condition. So that is why they are at that price point. (Say $5000-$10,000). 

How can you tell if your boat is at that level? Google it or go to the NADA boat buying guide or better still, look at a calendar. Boats older than 10 years, do not hold their value. So if you bought a boat in 2003 and paid retail and then dumped $16000 in upgrades into it, you cannot expect to get the $16K plus your buying price out of it on resale today. Its not going to happen. 

But what will happen is if you expect to get every dime put into a boat out of it at resale plus your cost of purchase, your boat will likely sit and rot in a yard, costing you thousands in expenses and eventually either you or your boat will die.  And it will be sold at fire sale prices or thrown in the trash. 

Yards are littered with half dead or all the way dead boats and all of them at some point had a ridiculous price tag on them. And its a shame because boats like to move. When they stop moving, they will die. They are not all that different from horses, which require care and upkeep to thrive. They are both living breathing things and if neglected, die. 

Granted horses die a lot faster than boats, but depending on where your boat is kept, that death can be faster or slower depending on your latitude. 

Now back to our cases, Case#1 sold in record time and will be used for many years to come. Case #2 has been sitting idle for the better part of three years, is structurally compromised and the owners are balking at a very reasonable cash offer, because they are expecting $10K over book value for their boat. 

If they cared about the boat, they would sell it to a new owner who cared for it and save it from certain death. But they are thinking a boat is a good investment and expect to get out of it what they put into it.  

Boats are lousy investments. They don't hold their value, they cost a bundle to maintain and if neglected, they die. If you did that to a horse you'd be brought up on charges, but no body has ever made a TV show about a talking boat and so boats across this country resemble an animal in a Sarah Mclachlan commercial.

Now I am not saying boats are the same as stray dogs. And I do recognize that charismatic mammals are much better to cuddle with than a chunk of wet seaweed laden fiberglass and aluminum. But while so many boats languish in the yard, so many new ones are built every day. The fiberglass never goes away and the hulls litter our waterways for years to come. So a suffering boat is just as much a liability on society as a neglected animal and in many ways much worse, because boats aren't biodegradable. So when a boat owner balks at a reasonable offer for a boat that is inches away from the bone yard, he does a dis-service to not just the buyer, but to us as a planet. Because who knows what comes in the winter and who knows what that vessel will become next spring. 

On behalf of boat buyers everywhere, I beg you, be reasonable and listen to your broker. If you want a good investment, buy bonds. If you want something to love, get a shelter dog. But if you want to play with boats, remember once the fun is over, these toys die quickly and become a burden for us all to deal with. So do the right thing and re-home your boat before you ask the question, "is it all dead or just mostly dead?" And that might mean coming down on the price. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Batman and Robin of the Sea

Batman-and-Robin.jpg

That's a pretty audacious title don't you think? Who could claim themselves the title of super hero unless gifted with unusual gifts of strength, speed or otherworldly power? But Batman and Robin, favorites of mine from the days when I used where a towel for a cape, were not gifted with super human skills, but it was their gift of intellect and there ingenious tools that allowed them to save the day from the Joker and Catwoman.  That and a Great BIG Bat Light that lit up the night sky, oh and a cool car and a superhero suit and a.... well you get it.  They had lots of cool stuff. 

We don't. Not really anyway.  I have a ton of boating education experience and he has a newly formed insurance agency with the super powers of one of the biggest insurance underwriters in the Nation. But what makes us superheros is what we offer to our clients. We can provide you with the boating experience to get the boat of your dreams and the insurance to cover said vessel.  And in this day of Hurricanes, Fires and Floods, Boat Insurance is the holy grail for newbee boaters. 

You see insurance companies are now asking new boat owners to prove their skill level. Back when the dollar was strong and greed was good, every hedge fund manager with a credit card could be a captain. They called them "Credit Card Captains". Just cause you could afford it, they let you have it and insured it for you. But eventually after enough boats sunk or beached or ran aground or crashed into the dock or worse, killed people, insurance companies woke up and realized they were subsidizing the education of people who had no right to be behind the wheel. 

And its a real concern. I asked a Facebook group dedicated to sailing the question, " How many of you bought a sail boat without ever taking a lesson?" With in five minutes the post went viral and I had over 100 comments. Two days later there were a few thousand comments of people saying they bought a book and looked at Youtube videos and have been sailing ever since. That's kinda like saying you earned your black belt from watching "Kung Foo" reruns on TV. Its sent a shiver down my spine and gave me pause to think how many people out there are at risk because of the credit industry. But that's why my phone is blowing up these days. 

So many insurance companies have made it a requirement that you prove your skill at boating and sailing before they will let you off the dock that I decided it was time to change how we teach sailing and boating. And that's when I met Hugo Hanham-Gross of theHanham Insurance Agency.

Hugo walked up to me at the Annapolis Boat Show and told me he is looking to insure new boat owners, and I told him I teach new boat owners how to use their new boats. The light bulb went off over both our heads and we said, "lets work together". 

Or if you need us in the dark of night to save you from those dastardly credit card captains, all you need do is shine this light in the evening sky and we will swoop in in our trusty rocket powered car and wow you with our incredible super boating powers-but the phone is a lot easier. 

Or if you need us in the dark of night to save you from those dastardly credit card captains, all you need do is shine this light in the evening sky and we will swoop in in our trusty rocket powered car and wow you with our incredible super boating powers-but the phone is a lot easier. 

And so I present to you the dynamic duo of sailing, the caped crusaders of cruising, the patriots of power boating (sorry had to come up with a "P" thing). In short we can solve most of your most challenging boating quandaries. 

Just bought a new beneteau and need insurance? 

Looking at a used viking and have no idea how to use twin props? 

Getting a boat delivered to San Diego in April and you have never touched a tiller in your lifetime? 

Now we're not gonna tell you which one of us is the boy wonder and which one gets to drive the Batmobile, but either way, WE CAN HELP. 

 

If you need boat insurance, Call HUGO at +1 843 410 2990

If you need boat insurance, Call HUGO at +1 843 410 2990

FB_IMG_1496017764323.jpg

Or give me (Capt Chris) a call if you need help with your boat. 252-617-3792

Take away's from the Annapolis Boat Show

Have you been to the Annapolis Sailboat Show? This was my first of what I hope will be many more to come, but it was sweet sadness to see it end on Monday. Now that I am back at the home office and the Powerboats are firing up in Ego Alley of Naptown, I thought I would review a few my favorite take away's from the five-day tour de sailing. 

Really if you want to know anything about the sailing industry, you will find it at the Annapolis Boat Show. Word on the street is it tops many of the biggest shows in the country for sailing-related stuff and while the harbor is too tight to pack every sailboat ever made into it, it did boast a bevy of brand new boats and used boats alike. 

But the high of the show for me wasn't the parade of fouly-clad boat touchers or the massive collection of boats I cant afford, it was the collection of cool things that you could only find at the boat show. 

In truth I kind of felt like an explorer wandering a foreign market place for weird and interesting treasures we had to buy like the "air chair" or the new spectra dog lead we found for Buxton. They were too cool to pass on, but it was the treasures we have brought home to share with you that I think were the coolest. 

First up, is The Ugo , pronounced just like it is spelled. Designed by Mel and Vicky in the Land of a Thousand Lakes, they wanted a way to not just keep their phone dry when they were playing on the water, they wanted it to float too. And what they've designed is nothing short of brilliant in looks and functionality. Using the same zippers dinghy sailors use in their dry suits, and the same fabric that ice fisherman use for gloves they have crafted a "lifejacket for your phone". We loved it so much that Jen is now a rep for them and we are gonna blow the doors of off this thing.  If you have ever had the cell phone guy tell you your warranty was void because of that little secret pink dot in your $1000 iphone, YOUR GONNA WANT THIS.  The UGO SAVES PHONES. Check 'em out at  https://ugowear.com/   and use the promo code "JenniNC" for a very cool discount and let them know we sent you. 

Mel and Vic, UGO Founders. The UGO retails for $149, but use the promo code "JenniNC" and you get 20% off  when you order at  https://ugowear.com/collections/shop

Mel and Vic, UGO Founders. The UGO retails for $149, but use the promo code "JenniNC" and you get 20% off  when you order at  https://ugowear.com/collections/shop

Next up is WINCHRITE. From mind of Martin Lynn of sailology.com in Florida, Martin has developed a way to make hauling a winch easier without the high cost of installing a motorized winch: WINCHRITE. Using advanced brushless technology, this is a cordless electric winch handle that fits in any standard winch and saves the wear and tear on your body while sailing.  A specialized charging system charges it right on your boat and wont kill your batteries in the process. And the best part, have a look at this: 

IF your interested in WINCHRITE, shoot us an email and we will get one to you asap!

And don't get us started on the tech side of things- because there are so many cool apps out there to make boating better.

slipsurelogo.jpg

Have you heard of SlipSure.com ? Its only the best way to find a slip when your underway. A free app for your Iphone or Android, you can book a slip for your boat when your underway and looking to put in for the night. It is really well overdue on the market and Paul and Sherry, formerly of CT now in MD, but living in NC decided they wanted to hit the waves and give up life in the corner office. They have developed this app for the transient boater who needs a place to keep their boat for the night or longer and we are working to add places to stay daily. If you are a boater, all you have to do is download the app. If you are a marina, give me a call and I will set up your profile and show you how you can make the most of your empty slips. Call today or go to https://slipsure.com/home

And then there is SEAPILOT.  A Swedish developed navigational app using NOAA charts. What makes this different is it uses GRIB weather combined with AIS vessel location services  in live time to help you see the wind and plan your voyage. Whats even better about this is it uses depth gradient lines on the chart actively to automatically chart your boat through safe water AUTOMATICALLY! No more running aground cause your GPS didn't tell you about a sandbar or submerged reef. This app will show you where the best proposed plot is for your particular location.  The guys at the Seapilot Booth were nice enough to give us a handful of subscriptions  for our clients so before you plop your card down, shoot us a message and we can give you a free code for the app. 

So there you have it, just a taste of what we found at this year's boat show. You can head back there today and the rest of the week for the Annapolis Power Boat Show, but all things sailing have set sail not to return until the Spring. But if you want these latest finds today, all you gotta do is give us a call or shoot us a message. 

So you want to be a captain?

facebook_1458668454003.jpg

Many who have had a boat or want a boat think to themselves, "one day I will just sail away and make money by doing charters in the Caribbean". 

And to be sure, this is a worthwhile dream. Taking the helm and sailing off into the sunset while someone pays you to do it is a great way to live the mobile lifestyle. 

Unfortunately for many however, once they google how to become a captain, that dream gets shelved along with driving for Nascar, Opening an restaurant and playing second base for the Red Sox.  Just me? Maybe. 
 

But whatever your pipe dream, being a maritime captain is on a lot of people's bucket list and for all too many that dream is never realized because of several reasons. 

The bureaucratic maelstrom that has become the National Maritime Credentialing System and the USCG makes it hard enough, but when you add in the prospect of driving halfway across the country, sitting for two weeks and paying literally Thousands of dollars just to begin the credentialing process, the idea of taking six people out for  $100 bucks each sounds downright ludicrous. Yet so many people do it. 

Google the term "OUPV License" or "Captain's License" and you'll get a dozen listings for companies that offer license prep and courses. There be a dozen more that offer at home study guides and even more who offer books, services and other "stuff" to help you become a captain. 

scan0142_9a682cda-d554-4cce-b059-77649ab7772b_large.jpg

Note that no one ever says you can get your sea time on their boat and that is the critical part of the game when the USCG examines your credentials. Seatime. But there is not much money to be made in sea time and lots to be made in classrooms so everyone and their mother offers the OUPV class for the budget price of $1099 or $799 at home or something like that. 

Not gonna name any names, but I paid it and many of the captains I know paid it and it is one of the reasons why so many people shy away from it. Because its expensive. 

Truth is, if you want to get an Offshore License to charter down to the Caribbean, or even if you want to drive a launch at your local yacht club, its gonna cost you at minimum $2500 the first year. Between airfare, hotel, course fees and application costs, it will run your thousands. 

Then add in the STCW, the radar endorsement, towing endorsement, sail endorsement and you can add another $5000 to the ticket. That's close to $10,000 without even buying a boat or booking your first passenger.  But such is the cost to live the dream right? 

What if I told you there is a place in Eastern Carolina where the cost of the OUPV is $180. The 100 Ton Upgrade is $70. And the 200 ton upgrade, is just $70. That's it. Add in that they locals totally support this and offer discounts on hotel and then add in that it is on the Atlantic Ocean and just a 45 minute drive to the airport and then add in that I am here to help bring this to you and help you get your Captain's license, well then that $2500 initial cost drops down to $899 with accommodations plus airfare. Its the cheapest way to get your license in the world and its real. 

carteret-cc-logo.png

 

Carteret Community College is the answer, Moorehead City is the town. East Carolina is the region and the cross roads of the ICW is the place to do it.

I can help you get here and I can help you get your license, if you want my help, but either way, check them out and you'll see Im right. Next class is Oct 30- Nov 9 for 10 Days and that includes CPR and First Aid. 

You can read a 100 blogs about becoming a captain, this one is the only one that can save you Hundreds of your hard earned dollars doing it.  

 

Click here to read the latest Press Release from CCC explaining its designation as National Maritme Center of Excellence

 

 

 

 

"Semper Paratus" is not just for men on a boat- women need to be ready too.

Some of the best sailors I have ever know were women. Certainly the days of Mighty Mary and the America's Cup should live in history as a high water mark in sailing for women and of course there is more than one giant in the Intercollegiate sailing world and International Racing world that are of the female persuasion. Why then is it so strange then that when I say, women should be equal players on a boat I get so many cross eyed looks from the ladies? 

"Mighty Mary" and 1995 America Cup All Woman Crew

"Mighty Mary" and 1995 America Cup All Woman Crew

More than once, and I would dare say its awfully common, that when I approach a couple and ask the woman in the case, "what would you do if he fell overboard?" I get a blank stare and the subject changes to something more banal like her role as the sunbather in chief. 

But its a real concern, on both sail and power boats. 

What would you do if the captain went overboard or was incapacitated in some other way? 

Could you call the USCG? Could you take the helm and turn the boat up into the wind? Could you fish a 250-lb man out of the water? If you said no to any one of these questions, then you are at risk of peril on the sea. 

What are you going to do when all hell breaks loose and the captain is no where to be found?

In 2015 I was the dock master at a yacht club in Branford, Connecticut on Long Island Sound. The remnants of a hurricane were blowing through and I had spent the morning replacing bumpers and re-attaching snapped dock lines on a dock that was heaving six feet in the air.  When what to my wondering eyes did appear but a vessel sailing headlong into a rock pile on Outer Island of the Thimble Islands.  

Back at the Dock, The vessel in question was sinking, the USCG was issuing citations and the Woman was saying, "I didn't know what to do".

Back at the Dock, The vessel in question was sinking, the USCG was issuing citations and the Woman was saying, "I didn't know what to do".

For two hours I watched, helpless as the US Coast Guard attempted to rescue the stricken vessel, unsure of how they got there or why they were out there in the first place. As it turned out, the couple were live-aboards and were making their way South from Newport when the wall of wind hit them. Unable to get to shore, the man went forward to douse the jib and was blown overboard. The woman, boasting years of seatime, was unable to manage the vessel by herself and could not leave the man in the water, whom she was unable to lift onto the deck. So they banged into the rocks for two harrowing hours and did $25,000 worth of damage to their boat. The good news is, they lived. But boy did they test the system. 

And that's all that stands in the way of so many couples who sail or powerboat. A stroke of luck and a the motto "Semper Paratus" (Always Ready, the motto of the USCG). 

Shouldn't you have a little "Semper Paratus" in your tool box when going to sea? 

Make yourself ready for the worst, even if you never have to use it. When people tell me, "I dont wear a life jacket, I know how to swim", I ask, "How well do you swim when your unconscious?" Its not there for when your ready, its there to serve you when you are not ready, so always prepare to be ready. 

How can you do that? Know your boat, both people. Have a plan to get the larger person out of the water when help cant get there in time. Make sure your gear is ready to be deployed in the event of an emergency and that you have the right gear on board if and when you ever need it. And if you need help figuring out what is the right plan in the event of an emergency, ask for help. 

At CCMC, we aim to help couples work together as sailors, but of course there are hundreds of sailing schools or boating instructors who would be more than happy to help you out. My suggestion though is don't rely on your neighbor for good advice because all too often they are not better prepared than you, and the tendency is to work downward with your peers and not upward. Don't talk yourself out of being ready, assume that the danger does exist and take appropriate measures. And if you dont know what the words mean, listen to this song:

 

 

 

A successful voyage demands a sound boat, a stiff breeze and a GREAT Team

IMG_2140.jpg

We all have seen it. "The Screaming Ahab", "The White Knuckler", or the "Wish We were Home" Its the thing that takes over when a good day on the water goes bad and most times its not the weather or the boat's fault, but rather that of the skipper and crew. 

Crew Chemistry is a key to any successful voyage, weather it be to the far side of the world or to the local yacht club for happy hour. And without it, boats fall silent and slip to back of the yard to grow the forest of neglect and forgotten dreams. 

Put simply, if you don't get along with your crew, you will lose your boat. 

Now this can be a husband and wife, a pair of friends, fathers and children, or any number of traditional or non-traditional family makeups. The truth is "assholes" come in all shapes and sizes. And that is exactly what you are if you scream at your crew and throw a hissy fit while underway. 

Its the cause why marriages fail, why kids refuse to sail with dad or why on every street in America there is a boat sitting in someone's driveway or back yard with a small tree growing in it. The family dynamic failed in someway and that boat is now relegated to irrelevancy. 

But it doesn't have to be so. You don't have to fight every time you set out. You don't have to panic at the site of an approaching dock or buy flowers for your spouse every Monday because of the battle that ensues every Sunday on the boat ramp. 

And for those who want to live life afloat, you wont believe how a family can come together around a dream of sailing off on the family boat. 

The family that boats effectively together, stays together. And the family that fails at owning a boat, more often than not, fails as a family. 

We specialize in helping build better teams on the water. We help you orchestrate a better docking procedure, help you manage a tacking maneuver as a team and if need be, help you communicate more effectively when hauling your boat at the boat ramp. 

Better skills lead to less conflict, better communication leads to better boat handling and better boat handling leads to happier outcomes afloat.  Tell the Captain Ahab in your life, he doesn't have to worry anymore because help is available. And tell Captain Ahab's wife, its her boat too and ask her, what is she gonna do when the kids throw Ahab overboard and she has to bring the boat back to harbor safely? We are hear to help. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What do you do when Hubby goes overboard? Could you save the ship when the skipper is in the drink?

I have at least a dozen stories of couples gone bad under sail. There was the one where the couple was trying to haul their boat on the boat ramp that ended with her calling him a list of four letter names and vowing never to step on the boat again. Then there was the one where the couple ran their boat up on the rocks in the remnants of a hurricane and hubby fell in the drink. The lady bounced off the rocks for two hours until the USCG came to rescue them both and haul their boat into dock. She said, " I was trying to rescue him, but I just didn't know what I was doing".

These are the stories all too often- when couples go bad underway. That is why I have launched a whole new initiative- Couples Under Sail.

20429945_10213520893399916_8652590749194753586_n.jpg

The truth is I am getting married for the first time later this year and this is the first time I have ever had the experience of being in a relationship underway. And its hard. The roles we adopt on shore are different than the roles we serve underway and all too often, Hubby takes the helm and Honey, sits back, helpless, unable to assist in any meaningful way, that is to say unless she is cleaning or cooking below decks. And that's really sad.

So rather than scream at each other underway or worse yet, have one partner take a back seat to the other afloat, why don't we teach you how to sail together? And that what I do.

Here's the pitch:

Want to experience the cruising lifestyle as a Couple? This is the course for you. You will gain valuable experience like navigation, piloting, sail trim, big boat tactics, anchoring, and if the weather permits, things like night time navigation and intro to celestial navigation, but that's just where we get started 

This is a class for the couple who aims to set sail together!

You will learn to sail as a couple working on communication, team work and most importantly how to live as a couple on a small boat, and that's no small task.

Leave your couple rolls at home, because we emphasize redundancy in teaching because you need to ask yourself, can you save the ship, if he (or she) is in the drink? That is why you need to work together.  

This includes two nights at the East Carolina's best Waterfront accommodations, three days sailing to area attractions and two free online lessons with NauticEd for EACH of you. Or we can come to your boat and help you work better as a couple afloat!

We also offer ground transport from Beaufort Airport for you pilots and can arrange family care if needed. 

The Couple that sails together can navigate all sorts of life's challenges together so book your sailing experience together today. 

The Montessori Sailing School

I am sure we have all heard the term "Montessori school", but unfortunately for too many, we grew up in public schools with traditional classrooms and traditional lesson formats.  30 kids sitting in a room, with a teacher lecturing in front of a chalkboard for 8 hours a day. Do that for 12 years and then we send you off to college. Now imagine the sad fact that many of those students are not proficient in the required material by the time they finish that 12 year march to adulthood? 

That is why in the 1970's the idea of a new way to do things started to take root and the concept of Montessori Schools became the vanguard where so many haves send their little ones, while the have-nots languished in the public education assembly line. 

 So What is a Montessori School?  Wikipedia describes it as:

Although a range of practices exist under the name “Montessori,” the Association Montessori Internationale (AMI) and the American Montessori Society (AMS) cite these elements as essential:[4][5]

-Mixed age classrooms; classrooms for children ages  2 1⁄2 or 3 to 6 years old are by far the most common, but 0–3, 6–9, 9–12, 12–15, and 15–18 year-old classrooms exist as well.
-Student choice of activity from within a prescribed range of options
-Uninterrupted blocks of work time, ideally three hours
-A constructivist or “discovery” model, where students learn concepts from working with materials, rather than by direct instruction
Specialized educational materials developed by Montessori and her collaborators often made out of natural, aesthetic materials such as wood, rather than plastic.
-A thoughtfully prepared environment where materials are organized by subject area, within reach of the child, and are appropriate in size.
Freedom of movement within the classroom
-A trained Montessori teacher who follows the child and is highly experienced in observing the individual child’s characteristics, tendencies, innate talents and abilities. 
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montessori_education

Now I am not professing to be an expert in education or Montessori schools or anything like that. There are far too many experts out there on that front. But I have taught sailing for the last 25 years and have built just a few sailing programs over the years. I have also taught thousands to sail in waters up and down the eastern seaboard and I have come to understand one indelible fact, the way we do it in the national brand schools is not working and its killing the sport of sailing. 

As a former US Sailing Instructor, I taught basic sailing a thousand times if I taught it once. And each and every time, this is how it went. The student comes in and we talk to the student in a classroom about sailing for a an hour. We bring them out to a dock and show them how to rig a boat. We go over the names for things and then usher them out to sea for a few hours and then bring them back to shore for a debrief. That is the same first day experience in Massachusetts,  in Connecticut, in New York,  in North Carolina, in Maryland  and in Florida and it has to be that way because that's how US Sailing wants you to learn.  

The Problem with that is it costs a bundle for the students ($500-$1500) because US Sailing makes it cost a bundle, and it doesn't really sink in as a lesson for the newbie student. And when your done with three days of that experience, you are expected to go out and buy a sailboat to the tune of $100,000. 

Its better than nothing, but its not very good at all.  As one US Sailing Instructor trainer told me last fall, "US Sailing is the worst sailing organization in the world, except for every other one".

And that is why (among other reasons) I got very frustrated when I was forced to build yet another sailing program in a model that just doesn't work when I decided to build Crystal Coast Marine Consulting. Something had to change if I was going to do it one more time and build another sailing school in Eastern Carolina. 

You see I was also told, that no sailing school could survive in East Carolina. We used to have lots of people teaching sailing here in the old days and one by one they have failed and moved away. According to local thoughts, people just don't want to sail anymore. I cant believe that. 

I think we just need a new way of doing things and after a summer of teaching I have come up with a Montessori method for teaching sailing, that is effective, affordable and better than any other on water training program on the market today. We can teach you in a matter of days, not months for a fraction of what you would pay at a National Brand Sailing School.  And we do it, on some of the best waters to learn to sail in the world. 

Truth be told, its not new. Its traditional in so many ways because that is how the ancient mariners learned to sail when ships were wood and men were salty and brave. We sail as a crew, mixed in experience and varied in location. You wont spend three days, sailing around three buoys and sitting in a classroom when you learn to sail with CCMC. You take the helm within the first minutes of boarding a vessel and you are participating as a member of the crew from the beginning, learning by doing and being taught by fellow students of sailing, some who have sailed for years and some who are just beginning the voyage. 

And through this shared learning experience, you will learn the mixture of skills required to sail a vessel through unknown waters in very challenging conditions.  Skills like navigation, motor operation, advanced sail handling and problem solving at sea.  Our instructors are their to guide your learning process and act as safety officers, but don.t expect them to sit your down in a classroom and draw diagram on a chalk board. We don't have classrooms and we don't use chalkboards underway. 

There are lots of places to learn to sail in the world and if you want the public high school learning experience in sailing check out US Sailing or ASA. But if you want to learn to sail in real world conditions, and see new places and use the skills you will need to know if you want to buy a boat and see the world, then come to Crystal Coast Marine Consulting. We teach on our boats or yours and are committed to helping you become a better boater for a lifetime of learning, not just for the weekend. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  •  

 

 

 

 

Why put your boat up for the winter? Send it South and Make $$$

Did you know that the vast majority of boats sit idle most of the time? Did you know that boats that sit idle grow sea life, grow mold, grow older faster and lose value when they are unused? Did you know that there is a solution that will save your boat, cost you way less than winter storage and even help you pay for your boat all at the same time? It's true. 

We are looking for vessels to lease from owners for short or long term leases. We cover all the maintenance, all the repairs, all the bills of upkeep, storage and  operation and even cut you a check at the end of the month. So why would you NOT take advantage of such a prospect? 

The truth is, when you wrap your boat for the winter and put it to bed, your boat tends to die a little more every day. Batteries go dead, bugs get in and rust and mold creeps in. If you store in water, the ever present fear of flood and fire pains you all winter long. And if you leave it out, Old Man Winter does his worst and makes your investment into his plaything. 

We are fully licensed, fully insured and fully committed to caring for your boat as if it were our own. What's more, if you want to use your boat at any time while in our care, we will have it ready to go for you as soon as possible. 

What we do is take command of your boat, charter it or use it for instructional purposes down South and when the lease is up, bring it back to you in better condition than we found it. That's our promise. And if something goes, ,,,,ahem.... wrong? We are fully insured and ready to make everything right again. Sound interesting? Call 252-617-3792 for more info or drop a note and we will be happy to discuss your individual vessel and your situation. 

 

Tell me Why I don't like Mondays!

Mondays generally suck right? The tired, drained feeling, the disappointment of ending an otherwise great three day vacation or just the knowledge that it is five more days til payday. And then there is all that stuff that piles on and makes Monday a day you'd rather just skip. 

My Mom managed in her last years of working to get Monday's off and only worked four days a week. This was the panacea as far as she was concerned cause she no longer had to dive head long into I-95 rush hour traffic at 7 AM on Monday morning and head to a job she otherwise hated for a boss she couldn't stand for a pay check that barely covered the mortgage. And who could blame her looking at it from that perspective. But this isn't a blog about how to grin and bear it and the Waltzing Matilda lifestyle is not one of penance and patience. The Wanderlust Spirit waits for no man and no paycheck, so when you strike out to hit the high seas or wander the path less traveled, you are giving up Mondays, but you are also giving up a full time, steady paycheck with a stick and bricks kind of job. 

And that where the two main tenants of this lifestyle converge: Freedom and Self Reliance. 

The Waltzing Matilda Life means you have the freedom to go where you will go and live how you want to live. Some get that freedom from a lifetime of working 40-a-week for the man and can live off the the "fixed Income" provided by Uncle Sam when that life ends, while others are born on the right base and have hit the home run into early retirement. I'm hoping for the latter to kick in eventually, but the truth is that is probably not enough to play in the new "rigged" economy for long, so it is High Ho High Ho, Its off to work I go. And that is why Monday's suck. 

They suck because you have to work for someone else and help them achieve the goal of personal freedom. I say personal freedom and not financial, because Financial freedom is a fairy tale they told the AARP crowd to get them to show up to work on Mondays for the last 50 years and buy into a failing retirement system that isn't proving to be there now that they are cashing in.  That's why you see 80-year olds greeting at Walmart and bagging groceries at the Piggly Wiggly. Financial Freedom is reserved for a small elite set of people and this blog isn't for them either. 

Its a sad fact, but the rest of us have to work for a living  and all too many have to slog into Mondays til they drop dead over the fax machine on their 92nd birthday. 

But then there is yet one more breed of people who refuse to go quietly into that good night. They refuse to resolve to die slowly on a tread mill that powers the Man's retirement and they dream of hopping on a boat or mounting an RV and setting out to see the world come hell or high water. And the way they power this Fight for Freedom is by being self-reliant aka. entrepreneurial. 

You see the Entrepreneur is a unique sort of person because they cast off the confidence of a steady job and say to the world, "I'll do it by me one-sies." They look to no one to do it for them because if it is to work they will have to it all by themselves anyway, all in the hopes of making a living because just cause they have to work, doesn't mean they have to work for someone else. 

They are plumbers and electricians, web designers and hair stylists, they are shop owners, artisans and yes, captains and sailors. But the smartest amoung them as far as this blog is concerned are the ones who figure out how to do it without the need to have a driveway. 
 

They develop consulting businesses, or websites. They get followers on blogs and earn sponsorships. Or they tell fortunes and read tarrot cards, sell vacuums and home cleaning supplies or even  tour the country selling Multi-Milkshake machines to hot dog stands. Its not what they do that speaks to their wanderlust and their entrepreneurial spirit, its what it affords them the freedom to do by doing it and giving them the self-reliance to be able to chart their own course. 

And once they have figured out how to bank the benjamins without having to punch the time clock in a single zip code, thats when the resentment of Mondays goes away. 

Mondays become a an opportunity not a sentence. A rising tide that brings all sorts of new treasures and chances. A new client, a new product, a new idea or a new prospect. Mondays become a thing you look forward to because while Sundays are the Lords day, they are a day when the phone doesn't ring. And nothing bothers a small business owner like a silent phone. So bring on the Monday and give me that horizon- its a new week and we've got business to do!
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh what a feeling!

Two of last years students come together in 25 knots to see how they have progressed since their class last season. This is a great way to share knowledge and learn to sail once the basics have been mastered

Two of last years students come together in 25 knots to see how they have progressed since their class last season. This is a great way to share knowledge and learn to sail once the basics have been mastered

There is little in this world that rivals the touch of a woman who loves you for who you are. Really there is nothing, except maybe just perhaps, the thrill of seeing your idea, once just a scary notion, with little promise and even less profit, take form and flight, and before your very eyes casts off its fledgling feathers and soars into the world as a new business. 

Well its happening for CCMC. Once just an idea, today the rings steadily, and the past two weeks have flown by as I have been adrift working on boats and teaching. 

I did this once before, and when the phone rang for the first time then I was standing in my front yard and almost lost the sale because I was so surprised to get the call. I don't really know when the first call came this time, but I do know when the most recent came, 30 seconds ago. And it has rang every few minutes for the last two hours with interested students. 

I told my student this weekend as we set sail on Sunday morning that I don't accept every student. Quite frankly I can only teach the same thing so many times before my Gemini soul decides to revolt and run for the nearest shoreline.  So I will focus on 40 or so people who will be my students. Those 40 will vary in skills and experience and some of the more experienced will be called on to assist the less experienced and we will all learn together in sort of a Montessori-type learning experience. And as some learn and go off into the blue ocean, I will accept new students and the process will repeat itself.

But to become one of the students at CCMC, you must show more than a cursory desire to learn to sail. Your classmates will expect a certain commitment as will I. None of us want to waste our precious hours of summer sun on someone who is not fully committed to learning. So if your just doing this to waste a beautiful afternoon and work on your tan, perhaps you ought to take a charter boat to Cape Lookout. We aim to share the art of sailing. 

But there you go, the phone is ringing again. Gotta love it when a plan comes together.