Monday, April 30, 2007

Photo of the Day: Sheepshead Bay in April

Here's a shot of Sheepshead Bay in late April. From here, you can notice one of the new condo developments along Emmons Avenue. The building in the left of the picture, called La Mer Villas (very classy), is an example of what is now springing up along Emmons Ave replacing some old clubs, bungalows, and marinas.

La Mer Villas, consists of 15 townhouses and "four classic style apartments." Indoor parking and some boat slips are available. We've noticed that they are selling them in not only in US dollars but Russian Rubels as well.

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Sunday, April 29, 2007

Spring Cleaning

The departure of winter means that spring rituals are about to commence: for some, it indicates that it's time to plant bulbs and tend to the garden; in parts of Ohio, it signifies time to hunt wild turkeys (not the liquid type) or scour the ground for edible wild mushrooms; for boaters, springtime means that boating season is upon us and lots of work needs to be completed (subsequently lots of money is spent) before a boat is launched into the water.

In Brooklyn, the strange weather and the cold early spring delayed many of Kings County's swabbies, including your editor, in the annual maritime ritual of sanding, scraping, cleaning, masking, buffing, and painting. However, this weekend, we did get to the coast and discovered that Barnacle Bill of Brooklyn had taken advantage of the nice weather to get some work done.

For those of you readers who are landlubbers, the job of prepping a boat is very, very dirty and potentially toxic. For the sake of brevity, we are assuming that the boat doesn't need any engine work, work on any internal systems (heads, pump-outs, water systems, etc), nor does the boat need any structural repairs to fix any leaks. We're just giving you the basics here. This typically includes: sanding and scraping any loose paint off of the bottom of the boat in order to prep the boat for a new coat of bottom paint, which protects the hull from becoming a nest of barnacles and other sea organisms. What makes the paint work, is also what makes it expensive and toxic: copper and copper copolymer, which provides a controlled releases of biocide to kill off any sea creatures. The paint is also, very expensive: for example a gallon of Micron CSC costs around $150. That will, if you are lucky, be enough to cover the bottom of a 30-foot sailboat. Because a boat is awkwardly shaped, its not that easy to paint the bottom. A lot of bending and stretching is involved and most sailors will tell you, they'd rather paint a flat wall, than a boat's bottom. Additionally, if the boat has wood above the water line, that will typically need to be sanded, cleaned and oiled (for teak) or varnished to protect it from the sun and salt.

When the bottom paint is finished, granted there are no hiccups in the plan, the boat needs to be washed and dried and then waxed. Like a car, the wax protects the boat's hull from dirt and pollutants For your editor, the washing ritual wasn't so much fun this year. The bay was particularly dirty last year, and we had some oil stains and funky green stains just above the waterline that didn't come out using the powerwash. We needed a magic elixer to remove the stain. Using a brush, we applied Y-10 fiberglass stain remover , let it set for about 10 minutes, but didn't let it dry) and then scrubbed the heck out of it with a Scotchbrite pad. That did the trick for us.

Once all of this is done, your local yard can help you put your boat in the water and step the mast.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Crazy Eddie Ain't the Only One Who's Insane: 1,000 Days at Sea

This weekend, 55 year-old Reid Stowe and Soanya Ahmad, Reid's 23-year old girlfriend departed from Manhattan on a voyage to sail continuously for 1,000 days at sea: by sailing continuously, they mean no stops for provisions, repairs or food. Nothing.

Reid Stowe has been planning this trip for some time now and had a 70-foot schooner - which he christened Anne, after his mother - crafted specifically for this challenge. Stowe and Ahmad plan to sail around the world three times without stopping. We're not holding our breath, because, like a good thriller, there are often clues that foreshadow the story. The Associated Press reports Ahmad saying, "this will be my first time sailing ever — except for up and down the Hudson River." She also writes on the 1,000 days at sea blog, "The boat is moving at 7 knots and it feels really fast compared to the 3 knots it was doing yesterday. Now that we’re going faster and the boat is leaning, it’s harder to move around, with one leg feeling shorter than the other and the longer one doing a lot of work. When I walk from one place to another, it’s more like I’m tumbling from one place to another. I guess I haven’t gotten my sea legs yet. So I decided that I would try to move as sparingly as possible."

Oh brother!

According to their press release and reports, the couple has a three year supply of food, which will be augmented by rainwater and by the fish they catch at sea. They also have a reverse osmosis water maker -- thank goodness. In addition, the lovebirds plan to grow spouts and have a small garden on deck, which is "mainly for greenery," according to Ahmad. We're curious what type of greenery grows in seawater and about their plans for 1,000 days of garbage.

While Reid Stowe seems to have extensive blue water experience, we are curious why he chose someone so inexperienced to join him on such a voyage. We wish them luck and can't wait to see Soanya's posts when she hits the Southern Ocean.

The cognescetti on Sailing Anarchy's message boards don't give these folks much of a chance and are polling members to guess how long before they throw in the towel.

In any case, we are entertained and will follow their progress.

Godspeed to the crew of Anne. We think you'll need it

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