Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Sail Brooklyn Celebrates its First Year Anniversary

On May 21, we celebrated our first year anniversary. Since our inception, we've had approximately 6,555 visitiors, viewing more than 12,400 pages on our blog. We crafted 80 posts over the past year.
We are thankful and grateful for the response and the positive feedback and hope to continue to keep our readers informed.

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Mr. Launch Driver

Perhaps one of the best summer jobs out there is driving a launch (also known as a tender) for a private boat club. The launch driver's primary function is to take club members from their main dock to boats on moorings. Without the launch driver, boat owners would have to row a dinghy out to their boat (which could be an issue if you plan to bring six or seven guests).

In addition to driving people to their boats, the launch driver acts as the "knowledge command center" for a club: he (or she) will know weather conditions; facilitates visiting boats onto guest moorings; and most importantly keeps track of who's come and gone (this is important, if a boat has been gone for an unusually long time). The launch driver your editor is familiar with also can procure large bags of ice cheaply.

In Brooklyn, launch drivers must be licensed by the Coast Guard and pass a series of tests (the license is the same one needs to drive a NYC Water Taxi). The shot above shows Frank, who drives a launch for Sheepshead Bay YC and Miramar YC at work driving the SBYC tender. He's a college student and inherited this job from his brother, who drove a launch while he was in school.

We think the positives - working on the water, in the spring and summer, driving a boat, tips and regularly hourly pay - outweigh the negatives - outside, on the water, in the rain, sometimes dealing with difficult people.

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Red Hook Community Sailing: Get Involved

In Red Hook, there is a good organization called PortSide New York that is dedicated to making connections between Red Hook's land lubbers and its storied waterfront. In addition to to saving and preserving the tanker Mary Whalen, which acts as their home base, the group has a job board and and plenty of maritime information relevant to Red Hook and the greater waterfront community.

We were particularly excited to hear that PortSide New York is working to start a community sailing program in Red Hook. We've been told they have a "classic plastic" Morgan 24 sailboat donated to this effort and will be holding a meeting on Wednesday, May 16 for anyone who is interested in helping. The meeting takes place at:

We love the idea of community sailing and applaud PortSide New York for their efforts.

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Monday, May 07, 2007

1000 Days at Sea: It took only 15 Days for a Major Disaster

On April 24, we wrote about Reid Stowe and Soanya Ahmad venturing off for their 1,000 days at sea venture. The Combination of Reid's gung-ho attitude and Soanya's complete lack of sailing experience, particularly any blue water experience, led us, and many others to believe that this is a disaster in the making. Unfortunately, for the crew of the schooner Anne, their dream voyage turned south two days ago, during their 15th day, the Morning of May 6, Anne had a collision with a freighter.

Stowe writes, " I was on watch in the pilothouse looking for lights of ships every 15 minutes to a half hour. I heard a loud bang and some scraping. When I opened the hatch, I saw the stern of a freighter passing by. We were not hit hard." They lost the bowsprit, the bow pulpit, and the headstay that keeps the foreword mast attached to the boat. Instead of calling it quits or getting rescued by the freighter that hit them, and perhaps returning after 15 days to make some needed repairs and re-start 1,000 days at sea, Stowe is pressing on. He adds, "its imperative that we get part of the job done before we hit any heavy weather." And Soanya adds, "...we could make it work. The 1000 days voyage is still in full swing."


What we can't figure out is who's crazier, Reid or Soanya? Reid is 55, was married and is, according to what we can gather, a very experienced sailor. Soanya is 23 and has no experience at all. Why would he take someone so inexperienced with him? And is he some sort of Svengali who convinced Soanya, against general common sense, to take a chance and head off to sea for three years? And why would Soanya agree to go on a voyage like this? Hadn't she ever seen Gilligan's Island? (and that tour was only three hours). We can assume that she really didn't know what she was getting into, but didn't she know how badly this can become.

As one blogger put it as they departed, "this could go very badly" and we also wrote "there are often closes that foreshadow the story." We'll continue to follow this tragic love story.

We wish them well and hope they come to their senses.

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From the Bahamas to Brooklyn in Search of a Laundromat

A large, blue visitor came stopped by over the weekend, her name is Pasha.

Pasha, we discovered, is a custom, 55.2-foot aluminum cutter-rigged boat. She was built in 1998 and was designed by Mr. William C. Frank. We went out to the boat to pick up the owner and also saw it had beautiful beautiful teak decks and a teak cabin house. In plain English, Pasha is a very large, expensive boat.

Typically, boats of her caliber would moor in the Upper New York Harbor, most likely in the North Cove Marina, by the World Trade Center. Thankfully, these smart sailors decided to spend some time in Brooklyn.

While the boat is registered in Nova Scotia, Canada (that's why the large Canadian Flag is flying off the stern), the owner is British and lives in the Bahamas. He, along with two crew members, is delivering Pasha to her summer home in Nova Scotia. When we went to meet him, he was heading onshore to find a local laundromat. Unfortunately we couldn't help him.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

First Sail of the Season

The Pearson Ensign Wanderer, one of the boats from Ensign Class Fleet 21, out of Sheepshead Bay, takes a "shake out" sail using only the mainsail on a beautiful early May afternoon.

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Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Boat in NYC or Hamptons Share: You do the Math

When Mrs. Salt and I tell people we are Brooklyn residents who keep our own sailboat in New York City, people often come to the conclusion that we are rich. While we're not starving, we are hardly rich. We don't have trust funds, and neither of us work in investment banking. In other words, we need to work for a living. However, we are thrifty, and perhaps we are even crafty. This enables us to enjoy our summers at a fraction at the regular NYC price of a beach house share. We also like the fact that we can enjoy a beautiful summer day, on the water, in the privacy of our own vessel with guests of our choosing. We can also get to the boat from our house in less than 30 minutes and sleep in our own bed during the evening. This seems ideal compared to sharing a house, hours away from your primary residence, that may not be that close to the water.

A two bedroom cottage in East Hampton will cost $7,000 for the month of July, or $8,000 for August. We've seen another house that gets someone "seven prime weekends" for $1,000. And a three bedroom rental in Fire Island during Father's Day weekend is being advertised for $1,100. Any way we look at it, perhaps with the exception of the "seven prime weekends" house, its seems rather expensive.

For $3,500, you can get a classic 28-foot Columbia Sloop. We know she needs a bit of work, so throw in another $1,000 and you could be in the water. If your budget is a bit larger, $6,900 will get you a very well maintained and well equipped 27-foot Catalina sailboat. Its a bit of a deposit, but its about the same price as a month in the Hamptons. But you now own a sailboat.

Now that you have your boat, you'll need to keep it somewhere. At Gateway Marina in Brooklyn, for as high as $84 per-foot (or slip size whichever is larger) for a private slip; $74 per-foot for a semi-private slip. For arguments sake, we'll take semi-private slip for our 28-foot Columbia, which will set us back $2,072 (plus NYC sales tax, of course). At Gateway, the seasonal contract runs from April 15 through October 14.

A few other considerations to think about: winter storage and maintenance. Winter storage for a boat that size can run in excess of $1,000, perhaps even as high as $1,500. This would include pulling the boat out of the water, a power was on the bottom and blocking it up to sit "on the hard" during the winter months. And while owning a boat is fun, they do need to be regularly maintained, particularly if it's in saltwater. Figure on another $1,500 annually for maintenance (which includes bottom paint, engine, and any other systems). And if something really breaks, it will cost you more money. One reason that Mrs. Salt and I downgraded from a 29-foot hand-me down we generously received from Papa Salt was the maintenance. The boat was decent, but it was over 20-years old (which isn't a big deal) and had been raced very hard in her lifetime. By the time we got her, a lot of her systems were starting to fail, and we were spending more time maintaining the boat instead of sailing her. Instead, we sold her for a song, and downgraded to a bulletproof daysailor, which doesn't have an engine or any internal systems like a head, thru-hulls or water systems.

We almost forgot, if you are dying to go to the Hamptons, you can always take your new boat and sail there.

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